In all of the excitement over Facebook’s sort-of-but-not-quite entry into the search market, interesting figures about how we’re searching have almost been ignored. But the latest information shows a slight but definite shift in a new direction for UK searchers.
In December 2012, Google’s UK market share ‘slumped’ to a five year low, although slumped in this case still means that Google powers almost nine tenths of the searches we make. Where the search giant is used to seeing market share of over 90%, December saw it slip to a mere 88.35% of the market.
This is down from the 91.15% share it commanded back in December 2011, and is largely down to some clever marketing and maneuvering by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
In comparison to Google’s ‘woes’ (again, nearly nine tenths of searches), Bing’s market share has rocketed from 3.84% to 4.99% – a figure that is boosted by the fact that Bing also powers the country’s number three search engine, Yahoo. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft are pretty pleased about all of this. And rightly so:
“This is encouraging news for Microsoft as Bing once again starts to gain some momentum and traction in the UK search market. Bing’s availability across multiple Microsoft devices and becoming the default search engine on sites such as Facebook has also contributed to an increase in market share as the way in which consumers use search engines continues to diversify.”
James Murray, Digital Insights Manager, Experian
While we’re not foolish enough to claim the imminent downfall of a company that still accounts for 89 in every 100 searches made in this country, this continued downward trend should cause Google to pause for thought. Because the increase in Bing use hasn’t all been down to Microsoft working alone.
While Google have been fighting wars with Apple, and falling out with Firefox, Microsoft have been shaking hands and making friends. And Bing has an extremely powerful partner in Facebook – which we think will start to influence market share when the Bing-powered Graph Search is launched fully later this year.
It’ll take a lot of work to displace Google from the search engine top spot, but Bing are going about it the right way. And maybe, just maybe, they’ve shown Google that it’s time they stop competing with everyone and start playing nice.
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