Less Than

    February 20, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Call it premature, a key indicator, or room for some great developer to still bust this space wide open, but Google is by far the undisputed champ of online collaborative productivity tools since October ’06 — five months ago.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings’ MegaPanel, Google Docs and Spreadsheet users, all 445,762 of them, represent 92 percent of online collaborative productivity tool users.

That’s a tidy chunk of one very niche market for any provider to have. That 92 percent (again, 445,762 users) accounts for 95 percent of the time spent using tools like this online, spending 14 minutes per session. The other eight percent are devoted to providers like EditGrid, Zoho, Thinkfree, Numsum, and WriteBoard.

“Google has capitalized on its devoted audience and wide brand recognition to gain traction quickly in this space, but there is clearly a lot of room for growth," said Nielsen//NetRating senior analyst Jon Stewart.

Google Docs users are typical early technology adopters, nearly a hundred percent of whom make over $50,000 annually. Just over a quarter of them earn upwards of $100,000 a year, Nielsen says.

Of these more affluent users, "middle-aged singles," or those ages 35-54, were over twice as likely to use Google Docs as the average Web User. "New families," or households with children under six years old, were 69 percent more likely.

"[Google Docs users] tend to be mature with some disposable income," said Stewart. "As more providers of Web-based productivity tools come to market and consumers become familiar with their offerings, we will see the audience broaden to more closely resemble the overall online population.

"Eventually, Web-based productivity tools could become as widespread as traditional software from companies like Microsoft, but they clearly have little to fear in the immediate future, given the relatively low penetration numbers that we’re seeing.”

If Google wants to solidify this Microsoft-esque position online, it might be time to start promoting the products it offers – beyond sad little YouTube videos.

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