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Search Usage Spikes As A Daily Online Habit

  |  November 20, 2005   |  Comments

The use of search grows as technology improves search engines and Internet access.

Search engine usage emerges as an integral Web tool. A report released jointly by Pew Internet & American Life Project and comScore finds the percentage of search users almost equal to those who use email.

The search-using population totals 90 percent of all Internet users, a close second to the email-using population of 91 percent of all Internet users. Daily users of search and email combined have grown in the past year. In 2004, 38 million online Americans used search daily,; in 2005, the number of users hit 59 million. That's a 55 percent increase in one year.

E-mail continues to grow; 57 million American Internet users sent and received emails daily in 2004. The 2005 American Internet population of daily email users now includes 74 million. The rate of increase for email usage rose from 30 percent to 41 percent.

Compared to other online activities, email and search engine use top activity lists of the 94 million American adults who use the Internet. E-mail holds a 77 percent share of daily activities; search engine usage reaches a 63 percent share. Checking news (46 percent) and conducting job-related research (29 percent) follow search.

Adults' Daily Internet Activities, September 2005
Internet Activity Percent
E-mail 77
Search engine 63
Get news* 46
Do job-related research* 29
Use instant messaging 18
Do online banking* 18
Take part in chat room 8
Make a travel reservation 5
Read blogs 3
Participate in online auction* 3
Notes:
1. N=1,577. Margin of error plus or minus 3%.
2. Data with asterisks from PIP tracking survey, February 21-March 21, 2005. N=1,382. Margin of error is plus or minus 3%.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2005

Broadband adoption contributes to the growing use of search. The online population has better access to the Internet.

"As people make the decision to get a broadband connection, they are in some instances moving the Internet connected computer at home to a central place in the house as a utility," Pew Internet project director Lee Rainie told ClickZ Stats. "In some sense, they begin to think of it as a first line of information."

Internet users have numerous search engines to chose from. Google claims the largest market share. It also serves the largest share of the Internet population for local search. Web users visit local segments of larger search engines or smaller sites set up to serve a particular city or region. Other Internet users search with "local qualifiers" to return location-targeted results.

Local Search Data, November 2005
Local Searches Share of Local Searches (%)
Total Internet 447,829,790 100.0
Google sites 195,790,534 43.7
Yahoo sites 126,243,837 28.2
MSN/Microsoft sites 61,548,838 13.7
Time Warner Network 33,556,682 7.5
Ask Jeeves 24,717,632 5.5
InfoSpace Network 4,188,728 0.9
Lycos, Inc. 1,373,255 0.3
Source: comScore Media Metrix, 2005

Pew Internet conducted a nationally-representative telephone survey of 2,251 American adults between September 13 and October 14 of this year. Respondents included 1,577 Internet users.

Data attributed to comScore was collected by the research firm's Media Metrix Internet audience measurement service. The panel consists of a cross-section of over 1.5 million U.S. consumers who allow the firm to observe browsing and transaction behavior on- and offline.

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Enid Burns

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