January US desktop search rankings from comScore were released yesterday. There was almost no movement in the numbers from the previous month; Bing and Ask gained a tiny fraction of a point each.
For the major search engines, total query volume was up slightly across the board, but volumes were essentially flat. These desktop data are growing less relevant and interesting, partly because of a lack of movement, but also because search is increasingly mobile — and, in that context, fragmenting.
In terms of total market share, including “powered by” search, Google controlled 63.9 percent of US search query volume, while Bing powered 33.1 percent of organic search on the desktop.
Compared with two years ago, PC-driven search queries were down by two billion overall. That’s mostly attributable to a decline in queries on Google, which have transferred to mobile. Yahoo and Bing desktop queries are up slightly versus two years ago.
The chart below compares January search market share with the previous three years. Over that period, Bing has shown meaningful growth, Yahoo is flat and Google, Ask and AOL have all lost share. Based on these trends, this year we’ll probably see AOL dip below 0.5 percent and Ask approach one percent.
US desktop search market share (2013 – 2016)
Data source: comScore
Again, the data and charts above don’t reflect mobile search volumes, which are probably comparatively modest, though they’re probably growing for Bing and Yahoo. However, Google said last year that mobile queries surpassed PC search volumes in at least 10 countries, including the US, the UK and Japan.
If the comScore search volume estimates are accurate, Google’s total volume is likely at least 20 billion monthly searches in the US.
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