Search Engines Market Share

Time-series data on search engine market shares around the world (late 1990s-present). Some figures and data come from Is Google the next Microsoft? Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Online Search, Review of Network Economics, Rufus Pollock, December 2010. Data consolidated from a variety of sources including NetApplications, WebSideStory, Nielsen's NetRatings, comScore's MediaMetrix.


Please cite this dataset and Is Google the next Microsoft? Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Online Search, Review of Network Economics, Rufus Pollock, December 2010


Obtaining good (comparable) market share data over a reasonable period is difficult. In particular, in the late 90s and early 2000s the only information recorded was the number of visits to a particular website. Since many providers of search also ran `portals' it can be difficult to distinguish pure search from simple visits.

In addition, early data frequently only records the number of unique visitors a month rather than giving a breakdown of the number of hits and this can severely distort results since pure-search providers (such as Google) are much more likely to have multiple visits from the same user than more portal-like sites.

Matters are further complicated by the fact that in the late 1990s and early 2000s many search sites had their search powered by a third-party provider. For example, up until 2004, Yahoo! did not have their own search engine but `bought-in' results, first from Inktomi (up until 2000) and then Google.

There are also differences in what is measured. NetApplications and WebSideStory (now part of Omniture) source their data from web analytic applications installed on customers' sites with NetApplications appearing to be more global in its customer-base than WebSideStory.

On the other hand, Nielsen's NetRatings, comScore's MediaMetrix get their data from the users themselves (directly or indirectly via ISPs) rather than from websites they visit. In this sense they may be more reliable sources of data. However, it has proved difficult to obtain continuous time-series data for these providers for more than a couple of years -- and for that period the trend they show is very similar to that found in the data shown.


SEW / WebSideStory

Gives graph with USA (World?) data from WebSideStory from which we can infer data.


See file in code files.

Global data from

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About Our Market Share Statistics

This data provides valuable insight into significant trends for internet usage. These statistics include monthly information on key statistics such as browser trends (e.g. Internet Explorer vs. Firefox market share), search engine referral data (e.g. Yahoo vs. MSN vs. Google traffic market share) and operating system share (Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux market share or even the iPhone market share vs. Windows Mobile).

We use a unique methodology for collecting this data. We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers. The data is compiled from approximately 160 million visitors per month. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics. The site unique visitor and referral information is summarized on a monthly basis.

In addition, we classify 430+ referral sources identified as search engines. Aggregate traffic referrals from these engines are summarized and reported monthly. The statistics for search engines include both organic and sponsored referrals. The websites in our population represent dozens of countries in regions including North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia / Pacific Rim and Parts of Asia.

The data is made available free of charge on a monthly basis that includes monthly browser market share trends, top search engine referrals, screen resolutions, top ISPs and operating systems trends. An upgraded version is available that provides reports by geolocation, preview weekly data and other features.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Author Rufus Pollock
Last Updated October 10, 2013, 23:37 (UTC)
Created March 24, 2012, 10:32 (UTC)
temporal start=1998;
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