I was just reading through the recent comScore digital future trends report released in 2015 for Q4 of 2014 and just wanted to point out some interesting data. I also give some of my thoughts towards the bottom on the search engine battle that is currently happening between Google, Bing, Yahoo and now DuckDuckGo.
Search grew 5% in Q4 2014 verses same period the previous year largely lead by smartphones and tablets.
Consumer digital search activity on mobile is being driven by smartphones, which are up 17 percent and tablets, which are up 28%. Desktop search however, dropped -1% during the same period in Q4 2014.
Google is the leading search engine in the US at 66% market share in Q4 2014, while Bing is gaining market share at 20% in same period and Yahoo’s recent partnership with Firefox allowed them to climb to 11% market share.
Recent figures this year are showing a slight decline in Google market share and a growth by search engines such as Bing and smaller privacy conscious search engines like DuckDuckGo who was recently added to the default search engine choice on iOS safari browser.
There will likely be a lot of re-shuffling in search engine market share over the coming years as consumers and advertisers become more conscious of alternatives to Google.
However, Google’s strong and solidifying position on Mobile with their Android platform and the Google Search App now the fastest top 25 growing app and #4 on the list of top US most popular apps, means that as the mobile market share grows, Google is well positioned to grow its dominance in search and riding on the natural trend in digital consumer demand through mobile devices.
It will take some years yet before competing search engines can seriously threaten Google’s dominance in search. A behavioral shift to Mobile may have catalysed this but Google was quick to react with the launch of their Android mobile platform almost a decade ago and their solid present on mobile search and the application space on both Android and iOS.
Below you can see the evolution of different mobile operating systems over the past decade. Note the strong growth of Android since 2009 and the decline of Microsoft, BlackBerry, Symbian and Palm. The mobile market is now dominated by iOS from Apple and Android from Google which is Q4 2014 held 53% market share as opposed to iOS at 42%. This data is for the US market only.
Here is a trend graph showing market penetration of mobile. It’s clear this trend is not about to end anytime soon.
The search players that are well positioned on mobile are the ones that will dominate in digital search in years to come. Google is absolutely one of them while Bing and Yahoo have some catching up to do in terms of browser search and application search.