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Search engines: alternatives to Google - statistics & facts

For over a decade Google has remained the most popular search engine worldwide, trumping competitors such as Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo! Search. The company’s 90 percent global market share, which lasted until July 2013, has since fallen to roughly 86 percent as of January 2021 – a mere 4 percent drop which has done little to shift its position as the world’s leading search platform. Not only that, the web giant’s monopoly also extends to mobile devices and browsers, a majority of which – such as Apple’s Safari - feature Google as the default search engine. As of 2019, Google commanded over 90 percent of the mobile search market in the United States alone. Meanwhile Bing, which also powers several other search engines such as Ecosia and Yahoo! Search has seen an upward trend in its global market penetration over the past two years. This reached 2.69 percent in January 2021, while Yahoo! Search struggled, facing a declining market share that amounted to 1.47 percent that same month.

Yandex and Baidu top regional markets

While Google ranks first in most parts of the world, Yandex and Baidu both dominate the Russian and Chinese search markets and are based on algorithms specifically tailored to its local audience and language. More than just a search provider, Yandex is also a media powerhouse offering maps, an e-mail service, photo storage and a translation platform rivaling those offered by the Google brand. In Russia, the company has seen a quarterly increase in its search engine share since 2019, while Google’s has decreased. Similarly, Baidu China’s national search engine has seen a revenue increase from 190 million to over 4 billion U.S. dollars within the past decade.

An increasing demand for privacy

Google’s monopoly has been challenged by anti-trust fines, one of the most notable being a record breaking 4.3 billion euros charge from the European Commission in 2018. Here, the company was accused of suppressing competition through industry malpractices. Controversy surrounding the high amount of political advertising on the platform, particularly during the 2020 U.S. elections, has also led to users making the switch to alternative search providers. DuckDuckGo, which prioritizes user anonymity has seen a boost in its market share in the U.S. which peaked at 2.6 percent in January 2021. Meanwhile, Ecosia – which directs its profits toward reforestation projects worldwide - experienced a growth surge in Europe, hitting an unprecedented 1.07 percent market share as of February 2021 in Germany where it is based.


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