More fodder to support Google (GOOG) Q1 revenue concerns: Comscore’s February report says U.S. query growth decelerated again in February.
The good news for Google fans is that it did much better than Yahoo (YHOO), where queries actually declined (per Comscore). After analysing Yahoo’s “Why We’re Worth $40 a Share” business plan, we continue to think the search assumption is aggressive. We believe that by the end of 2009, Google will have 80%-90% global market share.
Citi’s Mark Mahaney summarizes Comscore’s report:
Core U.S. search query growth decelerated in February, growing 15% Y/Y vs. 23% Y/Y growth in January and 20% Y/Y growth in Q4. Large Numbers Law and PC Search maturity are primary factors, we believe.
Google Continues to Gain Query Share – GOOG’s U.S. market share increases 70 bps M/M to a record-high 59.2% (up 540 bps Y/Y). Excluding the impact of DNS Error Searches now included in core MSFT, AOL, and Ask search results, Google share gains would have been modestly higher.
GOOG’s U.S. query growth of 26% marked a deceleration vs. 37% growth in January and 40% growth in Q4.
Yahoo! Lost Market Share – YHOO’s share declined 60 bps M/M to 21.6%, and represents another record low. Excluding the impact of DNS Error Searches now included in core MSFT, AOL, and Ask search results, Yahoo!’s share loss would have been somewhat less. In addition to the M/M share loss, Yahoo! search queries declined 5% Y/Y in February.
Microsoft’s Share Dropped Slightly – MSFT share was 9.6%, down 20 bps M/M. MSFT’s query growth decelerated from 16% Y/Y in January, to 9% Y/Y growth in February (or 7% Y/Y excluding the DNS inclusion).
Ask’s Share Up Slightly M/M – Ask’s share increased 10 bps to 4.6%, which remains relatively unchanged vs. historical trends, and an improvement vs. the two-year low of 4.3% recorded in December.
Mark also notes that Comscore’s paid-click report–the one that started the Google panic last month–is due out on Thursday after the close.