January Search Market Share: Tough Start to the Year for Yahoo!, Microsoft

Includes: AABA, GOOG, MSFT
by: Compete

Ask and you shall receive. Over the past few months we’ve read a number of requests for a bit more detail on our market share releases. For the past weeks some of the best and brightest at Compete have been locked up in the basement (actually we’re on the top floor of our building but you get the idea) to bring you our new and improved search market reporting. We turned over every rock we could find in the search data in order to bring you the most precise look at how consumers are using search.

A few important changes of note:

  • Actual market share numbers … not just trends
  • Total search volumes for the US market
  • Search volume by engine
  • We’ve also got a few other things up our sleeve that we’ll share soon. Now the numbers…

    So how did everyone fare in January? US consumers performed 6.3 billion search queries during the month. That averages out to roughly 36 searches per user. Among the big guys it seems we had more of the same. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) just keeps on climbing and everyone else just keeps on sinking. To be fair, Yahoo! (YHOO) search volumes were flat and MSN/Live (NASDAQ:MSFT) actually gained a bit month-over-month. However, only Google was able to outpace the overall market which increased 2% from December.

    Looking at the past year’s trend brings to light the struggle everyone else seems to be facing with respect to web search market share. Google is the only one in the game right now with market share above that of January last year. In fact Google’s volume was up 20% from year ago levels while the combined search volume of the other four was off 22%.

    MSN/Live seems to have stemmed the receding tide a bit with the launch of Live. I’m curious to see what happens with Live’s search numbers once we really start to see some volume of Vista OS PCs entering the marketplace. Like many others out there, I am wondering how many new IE7/Vista users will take the time to change the default search engine. The jury is still out on that one. Check back with me in a few months when we can put our hands on some real numbers.

    * Search market share includes web search only and is calculated based on unique queries within each session during the given month.

    Where do Compete's traffic numbers come from?