Ever since Firefox changed over their default search engine from Google to Yahoo (powered by Bing), there has been some commotion over Google’s shrinking market share. Most people know that search engines are a business, but don’t actually realize how much money search giants make and what a shrinking market share can really mean. Let’s look at some figures from comScore to get an idea.
Search Engine Market Share | March 2014 | US desktop searches (source)
Ask Network: 3%
Search Engine Market Share | March 2015 | US desktop searches (source)
Ask Network: 2%
3% doesn’t seem like a lot to most people, but historic comScore data shows Google’s US-based desktop market share was roughly 67% up until Firefox’s transition in December 2014 when a sizable drop to 65.4% in December 2014 was detected. While knowing the market share across major search engines was a good number to have, I was interested in finding out more about how much those figures meant in actual dollars.
Google Inc. | Financial Statement (source)
Revenue in millions of USD
3 months ending 2015-03-31: 17,258
3 months ending 2014-12-31: 18,103
3 months ending 2014-09-30: 16,523
3 months ending 2014-06-30: 15,955
3 months ending 2014-03-31: 15,420
A few things to keep in mind when looking at this data for reference:
- Google is used to seeing quarter over quarter growth, aside from one quarter in 2014 and another in 2009, but neither compared to the drop from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015.
- This most recent quarterly dip resulted in a loss of roughly $845,000,000 of revenue.
- Keep in mind that Firefox’s switch in their default browser began in December 2014, so it’s possible December performed worse than November and October in 2014.
- Prior to Q1 2015, Google’s revenue was on a very strong growth path ($2,683,000,000 growth from Q1 to Q4 2014).
While it’s impossible to say the decrease in revenue is 100% linked to the change in Firefox’s default search, it undoubtedly played a role by diverting searchers to Yahoo opposed to Google.