Search Use Still Soaring, Researchers Find

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Sixty million U.S. adults use search engines on any given day, up from 38 million in June 2004, according to research released yesterday by Pew Internet & American Life and comScore Media Metrix.


Pew's latest results show that the use of search engines climbed from 30 percent of the Internet population in June 2004 to 41 percent in September 2005. Similarly, information from comScore shows that the average daily use of engines jumped 23 percent from 49.3 million users to 60.7 million users from September 2004 to September 2005.


However, e-mail is still the top Internet activity, according to Pew, which said that 52 percent of U.S. Internet users send and receive e-mail on a typical day.


"The evolution of search engines as everyday consumer Web tools has made them a vital resource for marketers," comScore vice president James Lamberti said in a statement. "Search engines are obviously a critical vehicle in reaching consumers during the buy cycle, but they also offer a rich source for consumer profiling, segmentation and measurement of product demand. To date, we have only witnessed the preliminary impact of search engines on e-commerce."


ComScore's latest data found that Google was the most heavily used engine in October with 89.8 million unique visitors; followed by Yahoo, 68 million; MSN Search, 49.7 million; Ask Jeeves, 43.7 million; and AOL Search, 36.1 million.


Pew conducted a national telephone survey of 2,251 U.S. adults, including 1,577 Internet users, Sept. 13-Oct. 14. The margin of error on the Internet user portion is plus or minus 3 percent. ComScore measures data from 1.5 million U.S. consumers who have given permission to have their browsing and transaction behavior tracked, including online and offline purchasing.


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