Firefox Deal Continues To Boost Yahoo As US Search Share Grows Again In January

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According to StatCounter, Yahoo made further US search market-share gains in January. The web measurement firm said that Yahoo had 10.9 percent of the search market, “its highest US search share for over five years.”

This follows an initial gain from November to December, according to StatCounter, after the announcement of Yahoo’s default search deal with Firefox. In November StatCounter said Yahoo had a US market share in search of 8.6 percent.

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StatCounter explained that this was the first time, since the company began reporting traffic data, that Google had dipped below 75 percent in the US.

Two weeks ago comScore reported an even stronger gain for Yahoo, saying the company’s share of the US search market jumped from 10.2 percent to 11.8 percent, a significant bump of 1.6 percentage points.

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StatCounter says, conclusively, that the Firefox deal is responsible for Yahoo’s recent movement. When it separated out Firefox users, Yahoo’s share is actually flat or down slightly vs. last month.

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Firefox generates approximately 14 percent of internet traffic in the US says StatCounter. Were the browser’s share greater it would mean an even larger gain for Yahoo.

Responding to the shift, in late January Google started to ask Firefox users to switch back or switch to Google. Some Firefox users saw prompts such as “make Google your homepage” and “make Google your default search engine.” It’s not clear how successful this has been in bringing users back. 

RKG’s Mark Ballard cited evidence to argue that many Firefox 34 users are switching back to Google as their default search engine. He points out, however, that Safari is a much bigger prize. It’s unlikely that will go to Yahoo.

Responding directly to that “switchback” claim, StatCounter said it’s not happening. StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen posted, “Some analysts expected Yahoo to fall in January as a result of Firefox users switching back to Google. In fact Yahoo has increased US search share by half a percentage point.”

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