google’s declining desktop searches

Lee Halliday | 30/09/15


In the last week of September, 2015, comScore released a UK report on desktop search market share among the top search engines, comparing their market share within a two-month period - July and August 2015. According to the report, Google maintained the lead in August with 88.21 percent of the desktop search market share, though this represented a 0.95 percent drop from the previous month’s 89.16 percent market share.

In the same period, Bing increased its desktop search market share by the exact proportion that Google lost: from 6.47 to 6.99, while the market share for Yahoo remained constant at 3.54 percent.

So, it is possible that Google has “peaked” on the desktop?

Researchers from ComScore reported that there were 17.6 billion desktop-based searches in the month of August, 11.3 billion of which were made through Google. Considering Google’s claim in May, 2015 that mobile search queries had overtaken PC-based search volumes, it is safe to conclude that there were at least 11.3 billion mobile queries via Google.

Mobile search

According to StatCounter, Google accounts for over 90 percent of mobile search in the UK. This represents a slight increase from the previous year, compared to other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo - control 2 and 3 percent of mobile search respectively - which reported a slight drop from the previous year.

While this data may not be entirely precise, the fact remains that there is an incredible gap between the popularity of Google and its rival search engines among mobile users.

Search-Shop-Buy – mobile versus desktop

Mobile bookings, which include the use of smartphones and tablets, the mobile web, and apps, are expected to double by 2016 as travel agencies offer a better mobile experience and travellers increasingly become comfortable booking by touch.

But mobile serves an even bigger role when it comes to travel planning, with more than a third of travelers relying on their smartphones to shop and select their destinations before migrating to desktop for the final purchase.

According to a report by Millward Brown Digital and Phocuswright, desktop traffic for the full year, 2014, measured in monthly unique visitors (MUV) remained constant or reduced, though it declined by an average of 13 percent for airline websites and 8 percent for online travel agencies. At the same time, the companies revealed that average monthly conversion rates for desktops (or monthly unique visitors who go on to book in the same month on their PC) increased by 7 percent for online travel agencies, 2 percent for airlines, and 17 percent for hotels.

Besides travellers, other users are opting to do more web search, planning, booking, and other things via their mobile devices as opposed to desktops as they become more comfortable and confident in the mobile website versions.

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