Analyst: Mobile Continues To Take Share From Desktop Search

Later today comScore will release its US search market share numbers for December 2012. Based on early release information from Wall Street analysts this is what the numbers will be:

  • Google: 66.7 percent (vs. 67 percent in November)
  • Bing: 16.3 percent (vs. 16.2 percent in November)
  • Yahoo: 12.2 percent (vs. 12.1 percent in November)
  • Ask: 3.0 percent (vs. 3.0 percent in November)
  • AOL: 1.8 percent (vs. 1.7 percent in November)

What these data reflect is continued growth for Bing and general stability for Google at between 66 and 67 percent market share. However Yahoo-Bing Search Alliance has essentially produced no growth since its inception.

Today the combination controls just under 29 percent of search market share, which is essentially where it was when it formed in 2009. The deal has been a boon to Bing but a failure for Yahoo, which has continued to lose share to its partner.

Here’s what the December market share data look like compared with December 2011:

The bigger news, however, is that overall query volume appears to be declining as mobile devices cannibalize traffic. According to one analyst, “The declines of the past four months represent the first declines in total desktop search volume since we began tracking the data in 2006.”

We wrote about this last month, observing that In October 2011 “explicit core search queries” were 18.07 billion. In November 2012 there were more than a billion fewer queries.

It will take six months to a year of data to say definitively whether desktop search has peaked — and tablets may confound all this — but that’s what it appears.

Postscript: Here’s the official comScore release. In contrast to the above, comScore is reported a 4 percent gain in overall search query volume vs. last month.

However overall PC search query volume is down vs. December 2011.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: comScore | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • David Vallejo

    Not sure if there was anything written in the article that supports the headline. I’d be interested to know how mobile users compare between search engine-based and map-based searches. Haven’t been able to find that data anywhere.

  • Durant Imboden

    Tablets definitely confuse the issue, if they’re being bundled in with mobile, since a full-size tablet is more likely to be a living-room or family-room device than a true mobile device like a smartphone.

    It makes sense to bundle tablets with smartphones in discussions of operating systems or user interfaces, but in terms of things like screen size, Web-page display, and where the devices are used, tablets have more in common with desktop PCs or laptops than they do with smartphones.

  • Dana Melick

    Greg, why do you state “overall query volume appears to be declining as mobile devices cannibalize traffic” Do you mean overall desktop traffic? If not, why would mobile/tablet devices impact query volume, beyond the ability to measure it effectively)?

  • RankWatch

    I would assume they they better fir the smartphone terminology more, based on a simple fact that they are movable and can be taken anywhere. Yes, you can do that with a laptop too, but there’s way too difference between a laptop and a tablet in terms of categorization.In most of the bills a laptop comes under the computing banner, whereas a tablet configures well in the mobile technology. So, it is simple. Both are different in their categorization, whether taken for some common uses.

  • sagelewis

    I would love a place where we could anonymously post our year over year mobile numbers from sites we manage. I’m seeing 200% growth in mobile traffic year over year almost across the board. It would be cool to see if others are experiencing similar trends.

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  • Ronny Marx

    Useful information and graph! Thanks for posting it.

  • Durant Imboden

    Yes, tablets can be taken anywhere, but the research studies that I’ve seen indicate that tablets are used mostly at home. So, while they may share operating systems with smartphones, they aren’t “mobile devices” in the same way, and people using a tablet to search the Web from the living-rooms or the bedroom aren’t really performing “mobile searches.”

    Bottom line: Statistics on “desktop search” vs. “mobile search” aren’t necessarily illuminating. (Come to think of it, the term “desktop search” has been outmoded for quite a while, given the popularity of laptops among both home and business users.)

  • Oremo Ochillo

    I gues the most important questions is whether or not mobile taking market share away from desktop search is a bad thing

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