Most People Use Search To Shop

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As we’ve discussed, more and more, the search engine industry is solidifying itself as an almost essential part of our daily lives. The amount of searches done in any given day (250 million Google searches per day in 2003) bears this thinking out.

Most People Use Search To Shop
Search Engines Used Predominantly For Shopping

However, just because search is becoming an integral part of our daily activities, that does not mean everyone who uses a search engine can differentiate between organic results and paid search advertising, at least according to a Harris Interactive study commissioned by iCrossing.

The study, as reported by MarketingVOX, discovered that the majority of searchers do so because of shopping purposes. It also revealed that many who use search engines could not tell the difference between paid advertising and organic listings.

According to the study, which surveyed 2000 Internet users, 56 percent of those who use search cannot tell the difference between the two results. However, when you broke these numbers down according to the big 3 of the search industry (Google, Yahoo, MSN Search), you find that 51 percent of Google users can in fact tell the difference between paid listings and natural results.

This is not true for the younger search engine users, however. According to the study, 47 percent of the 18-34 demographic could differentiate, while less than 40 percent of those aged 55 and over could not.

Yahoo users and MSN Search users were less likely to determine the difference between the two, scoring a 42 and 36 percent, respectively.

The defining numbers of the survey did not come from search listing identification; they did, however, come from the amount of people who use search engines for shopping purposes. According to the study, 51 percent of searchers do so in order to shop, while 80 percent uses search to compare prices.

The search characteristics of men and women, in relation to shopping, were disclosed by the survey as well. 75 percent of men searchers use search to compare prices, as opposed to the 65 percent attributed to women. However, more women use search for health and medical purposes than do their male counterparts (61 percent to 35)

The survey also revealed some interesting numbers about those who use local search for shopping purposes. Of the majority who are using search for shopping purposes, less than 50 percent were actually seeking a local retailer to buy from, instead they seem to be seeking who has the best price, regardless of location, which I’m sure is music to the ears of the shipping industry.

Finally, what search engine survey would be complete without featuring a segment devoted to what search engine is used the most? The answer is not many. And keeping with tradition, the Harris Interactive study found that Google was again the most used search engine, garnering 77 percent of the users surveyed. Although, people are now more apt to venture to a competitor’s search engine if Google does not provide the desired results.

The survey says only 13 percent of Google users will only use Google to search, meaning almost 90 percent are willing to venture out to another search entity. These numbers are even lower for Google’s competitors.

Surveys like these go a long way in reinforcing just how much the search industry has become apart of our life. The ability to know and find, well, almost anything seems to be quite a desirable capability to possess and/or use.

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

Most People Use Search To Shop
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