It appears Google have cornered another market; with 17.9 million users in the US now using Google Product Search each year, they are now the clear leaders in shopping comparison services.
To say Google are dominant in search would be a massive understatement. Increasingly though it is their side projects and secondary products that are getting the headlines. Yesterday it was the turn of shopping comparison figures.
Last year Google sat a lowly 5th in the shopping comparison rankings in the US. Not a complete surprise, particularly as it is just one of the many search options they provide beneath their primary service. However, in a surprising turnaround, traffic grew by 70% over the last year and now they are sitting pretty in top spot [see: In Quiet Coup, Google Now No. 1 Shopping-Comparison Web Site | Yahoo…surprisingly].
But is this really a surprise? Whilst it is a major turnaround, this is a site that attracts billions of unique searches each year. Invariably some of them will filter down and use their Product Search, even if they hadn’t intended to use the search engine as a comparison site in the first instance.
Certainly less surprising was the fact that Yahoo had slipped as a consequence of Google’s sudden rise to prominence; a full 21% at that. Independent sites also suffered, although this is an inevitable and unfortunate bi-product of having one central site with the world’s knowledge and a naturally high traffic stream already behind it.
The two interesting things about this story are the 70% rise in visits – signalling greater public awareness or more obvious placement on SERPs – and how this might affect future services; most notably travel search, following the recent acquisition of travel comparison software developers ITA [see: Google Move into Travel Search Market with ITA Acquisition].
Google want us to do as many searches as possible using their engine. They don’t want to be used simply as a springboard to another site (although that is of course what it is there for); therefore the more options you have to go to them and stay there, the happier they will be. These figures suggest that whatever efforts they have made to diversify their search offerings are working, especially when you consider their standard search volumes are increasing too.
If this is what they can do in the shopping comparison sector, it’s little wonder that their ITA investment wasn’t greeted with glee by travel firms. Whatever they do, they dominate. Let’s face it, who has a better pool of users to draw on than Google? Anything they bolt on to their current search options is probably going to fly, no pun intended.