December 2012 was the biggest ever month for UK search, with Google dropping to 88% market share, marking its lowest point in five years, according to new data.
The research, from Experian, found that UK Internet users made 2.7 billion visits to search engines in December 2012, up by 400 million visits compared to December 2011.
The rise in visits represents a 17 per cent YoY increase in search activity. Google market share dropped below 90 per cent for the second month in a row to 88 per cent, its lowest in five years whilst rival search engines bing, Yahoo! and Ask all increased market share.
In total, Google Sites accounted for 88.35 per cent of all searches conducted in the UK in December 2012, up by 0.77 per cent from November 2012.
Microsoft Sites led by bing increased market share of searches this month, up by 0.19 per cent in comparison to November 2012 with an overall market share of 4.99 per cent. Yahoo! Sites also increased market share by 0.08 per cent. The most significant increase of the month was for Ask Sites which jumped 0.52 per cent.
December increases in searches can largely be attributed to a bumper Christmas sales period which saw online retail records being broken with 2.8 billion visits to UK retail sites and 656 million of these occurring week ending 29 December alone, equating to a 30 per cent YoY increase as consumers went online in their droves to buy last minute Christmas gifts and take advantage of early discounting.
James Murray, Digital Insight Manager, Experian Marketing Services commented; “Clearly, Google still maintains a huge competitive edge over the other search engines in the UK market. There are seven times more searches conducted on Google Sites than on all the other search engines combined. However, this is encouraging news for Microsoft as bing once again starts to gain some momentum and traction in the UK search market.”
James Murray added: “bing’s availability across multiple Microsoft devices and becoming the default search engine on sites such as Facebook has also contributed to an increase in market share as the way in which consumers use search engines continues to diversify.”