In a study released today by iProspect, 56.7 percent of Internet users use the same search engine or directory when they are looking for information, and another 30.5 percent of Web users have a few specific search engines they use regularly. A small amount of Web users, 12.8 percent, said they use a different search engine each time, depending on what they are looking for at that moment. This shows that search engine loyalty truly exists across a vast (87.2) majority of Web users.
Looking at the loyalty rate within the top search properties, according to MarketShare, Google has a loyalty rate with its users of 65.8 percent, Yahoo! has a loyalty rate of 55.2 percent, MSN has a loyalty rate of 53.7 percent and AOL nets 48.6 percent loyalty from its users.
Do Toolbars Help Search Engine Loyalty?
Along with discovering search engine preferences among Internet users, iProspect also found that there is significant adoption of search engine toolbars. Surprisingly, 49.3 percent of respondents have at least one search toolbar installed in their browser. Looking at specific search engine tool bars, 22 percent of respondents said they had installed the Yahoo! toolbar, 19.7 percent had installed the Google toolbar, and 17.4 percent of users said they had installed the MSN toolbar into their browser.
“Search engines offering a toolbar are providing their users an easier way to search; and this ease of use undoubtedly has a positive impact on overall search engine loyalty,” Murray said. “But the real opportunity lies with the 50-51% of users who have yet to install a toolbar. Which one they chose to install could most certainly impact both their search engine market share as well as their degree of search engine loyalty.”