March 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

Internet searches rise 39% year-over-year to 5.3 billion in February

The number of Internet searches increased 39% to 5.3 billion in February, up from 3.8 million in February 2005, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Searches increased in large part due to an increased number of searches per person, Nielsen said.

The number of Internet searches increased 39% to 5.3 billion in February, up from 3.8 million in February 2005, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Searches increased in large part due to an increased number of searches per person, particularly in the image and shopping search categories, Nielsen said.

In February, the average web user conducted 43.1 searches, up 30% from 33.2 searches in the year-earlier period, according to Nielsen. That compares with only a 6% increase in the number unique searchers.

“While the number of unique searchers in the U.S. over the past year has remained relatively stable, we see search usage intensity increasing, not only in the number of searches done per person for general web content, but also for searches initiated specifically for photos and graphics, as well as comparison shopping information,” said Michael Lanz, vice president of search industry solutions.

Among search verticals, image search experienced the strongest year-over-year growth at 91%. Google accounted for 71.9% of image search, followed by Yahoo (19.1%), Ask.com (3.5%). MSN (2.3%) and AOL (1.4%).

“Increasing broadband penetration, which allows users to download large image files easily and efficiently, and the rising popularity of social networking sites have contributed to the increase in image searchers,” Lanz said.

Google continued to lead the overall search market, accounting for 48.5% of all searches, followed by Yahoo (22.5%), MSN (10.7%), AOL (6.6%), and My Way Search (2.7%), according to Nielsen.

Nielsen/NetRatings retail analyst Heather Dougherty will speak at the Internet Retailer 2006 Conference in June in Chicago on the topic Who`s Online and How Do You Reach Them?

 

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