Economy Shapes Online Search Behavior

    February 24, 2009

Searches for a number of terms related to the economic downturn have shown significant gains in the past year, according to comScore.

The most notable increases were searches relating to the declining job market, including searches using the term "unemployment" (up 206 percent to 8.2 million searches) and "unemployment benefits" (up 247 percent to 748,000 searches).

Other terms related to personal assets also saw an increase, including "mortgage" (up 72 percent to 7.8 million searches), "bankruptcy" (up 156 percent to 2.6 million searches), and "foreclosure" (up 67 percent to 1.4 million searches).

Americans are looking for ways to save money, which drove an increase in the number of searches for "coupons" (up 161 percent to 19.9 million) and "discount" (up 26 percent to 7.9 million).

"Online behavior has come to reflect the interests or concerns of Americans, and we are certainly seeing this manifest itself with respect to the economic downturn," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Growth in Search Terms

"Search volume using terms relating to the economy has ballooned over the past year as Americans have become increasingly concerned over their economic wellbeing."

comScore looked at the demographic profile of those who clicked on a link following a search using the term "unemployment". The profile of these Internet users generally leaned towards those households with a head younger than 35 years old and households earning less than $50,000 a year. They were also more likely to use Yahoo, Windows Live Search, or Ask than Google or AOL search.