MSN and Yahoo! search tied for 2nd place in UK

Reports on the search market typically focus on which search engine will grow to compete with Google. However in the UK, the battle is currently for second place, with Google far and away the favourite.

The latest analysis from Hitwise reveals that Yahoo!‘s share of executed UK searches has grown to be tied with that of MSN. Yahoo! Search and MSN Search each powered just over 7% of UK internet searches in the four weeks to 20th May 2006 (combining the UK and .com search properties).

“Yahoo! has been slowly gaining market share of executed UK searches over the past few months and has crept up to be tied with MSN for second place” said Heather Hopkins, Director of Research for Hitwise UK.

Google continues to dominate the UK search market - powering more than three-quarters (77%) of UK internet searches. Google UK is also the most visited website in the UK, receiving more than twice the share of visits compared with the #2 ranked site, MSN Hotmail.

In the US, Yahoo! Search is a stronger competitor. Amongst US internet users, Google.com powered 59% of all searches, compared to Yahoo! Search at 22% in the four weeks to 20th May 2006.

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Google sub-domains fail to gain traction

Google has launched several new services in the past few months, however Hitwise analysis reveals that while these attract the attention of industry commentators and webmasters, they are not gaining traction with UK consumers. For example, in the four weeks to 20th May 2006, Google Finance ranked 201 in the Business & Finance - Business Information category with 0.04% share of category visits; Yahoo! UK & Ireland Finance in contrast ranked #1 in the same category, with 8.3% of market share in the week ending 20th May 2006.

Google’s association with search is so strong that 85% of UK visits to Google properties went to either the UK or US search engine. By contrast, Yahoo!‘s portal and its email service are its strongest properties and MSN’s strengths are in its communication services.

“Google is the undisputed favourite in search in the UK, however Yahoo! and MSN are much more popular for other services” said Heather Hopkins. “Consumers are moving among these three internet brands and seem to clearly distinguish the users of each. UK consumers use Google to navigate and search the web, MSN to communicate and Yahoo! for content.”
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