Majority of Searchers Use Multiple Search Engines

  |  February 28, 2005   |  Comments

Market share still up for grabs.

The majority of Internet searchers use multiple search engines, according to a study by Nielsen//NetRatings. The finding shows the volatility of the search market as the major players intensify their competition for user loyalty.

The study found that 58 percent of Google searchers also visited at least one of the other top two search engines, Yahoo and MSN Search. The use of multiple search engines also applies to Yahoo and MSN searchers. Approximately 71 percent of Yahoo searchers also visited one of the other top two engines, and 70 percent of MSN searchers also used one or both of the other two.

Top Search Engines by Search Share,
January 2005, U.S., Home & Work
Search Engine Searches*
(in thousands)
Share of
Total Searches
Google Search 1,923,153 47%
Yahoo Search 868,174 21%
MSN Search 523,188 13%
Total 4,085,880 --
* Note: Searches are the total number of queries conducted at a search engine during the specified reporting period, excluding internal site searches.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

"While it shouldn't surprise anyone that Google is the search engine to beat, it is critical that all of the major search players, including Google, recognize that they exclusively own only a minority of their users," said Ken Cassar, director of strategic analysis at Nielsen//NetRatings. "This highlights an opportunity and a threat to all of the established players in the market, and underscores the importance of continued innovation in a highly competitive market that is anything but mature."

However, NetRatings did find some differences in consumer loyalty to the different search engines. Google users were found to show a higher degree of loyalty than users of other engines. Google shared approximately 58 percent of its visitors: 26 percent with Yahoo, 19 percent with MSN, and 14 percent with both Yahoo and MSN.

For its part, Yahoo shared 71 percent of its traffic: 39 percent with Google, 11 percent with MSN, and 21 percent with both Google and MSN. MSN, meanwhile, shared 70 percent of its traffic: 33 percent with Google, 13 percent with Yahoo, and 24 percent with both Google and Yahoo

NetRatings also released the latest rankings of the leading search engines, measured in terms of search query volume for February 2005. Google took first place with a 47 percent of total searches, with 1.92 billion queries. Yahoo came in second with 21 percent market share, based on roughly 870 million queries. MSN, meanwhile, came in third place with 13 percent market share, based on approximately 520 million search queries.

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