Google’s search share has fallen below 75% for the first time since 2008, according to statistics from StatCounter.
The US market drop is a stark reflection of Yahoo’s small but notable resurgence, as well as Bing’s bold attempts to stay in the game. Together, the search engines are chipping away at Google’s 10-year dominance and clawing back percentages.
Jan. 2015 saw Yahoo take back search share for two consecutive months: it has risen from 10.4% in December to 10.9% in the new year. It marks a significant growth. In November, Yahoo’s stake stood at just 8.6%. It’s good news for CEO Marissa Mayer, who made Yahoo’s search functionality one of the main areas to improve. It seems this part of her plan is working.
Bing’s growth is less decisive, but worth mentioning. From Dec. 2014 to January this year, its share has dropped by 0.1%, but the company has seen its search share rise from 12.1% to 12.4% overall.
Here are the stats:
StatCounter reports that Google took 74.8% of US search referrals (excluding mobile) in January, clearly losing share to two of its main competitors. Yahoo, however, has enjoyed its highest yield for over five years. The main reason for this appears to be the Mozilla Firefox switch: Yahoo has just become the default search engine for web browser Firefox.
StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said some analysts had predicted Yahoo’s share to fall as Firefox users switched to Google in retaliation, but instead the opposite has happened: “Yahoo has increased US search share by half a percentage point,” he said. “It will be fascinating to see if these gains continue.”
StatCounter has also reported US search usage by Firefox users only: Yahoo-on-Firefox usage in the US has increased from 9.9% in Nov. last year to 28.3% in Jan. 2015. Google, meanwhile, saw 81.9% fall to 63.9% in the same period.
Cullen remarks that Firefox is responsible solely for Google’s decline. When Firefox was removed, “Google’s losses were erased,” he mentions. But the drop remains — the cause isn’t the most important thing. If anything, it highlights the power of default search engines.
For now, Google is the default search engine for Safari, Apple’s browser. But that deal expires this year. If Apple were to drop Google from Safari, hordes of Mac and iPhone users could be lost from Google’s enterprise. It would be a massive loss. At the very least, it would give Yahoo and Bing an even greater chance to gain ground.
And that’s not all that’s putting Google as risk of losing share in 2015. There’s also the issue of desktop usage too: 10 years ago nearly everyone browsed the web predominantly from their computers. But today that’s changing. Search Engine Watch notes than desktops are becoming increasingly defunct as people use their smartphones and tablets to go online. These days, people access the internet often directly through apps, rendering traditional search engines obsolete. In 2014, mobile exceeded PC internet usage for the first time in history.
Google remains the internet’s biggest player — by a long way. And it must be said that in the UK, and wider Europe, Google is still the winner, hands-down. It still has nearly 90% of search engine share. That’s crazy.
But some feel the comapny has reached its peak, at least in the US — which could be the start of something. Indeed, this graph marks a steady trend in which its falling.
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