Local and Shopping Search Are Growing Among Internet Users
According to a recent consumer search behavior study conducted by BizRate.com and The Kelsey Group of 3,887 online respondents, findings show that while general search engines rank the highest in terms of usage, with 72 percent indicating they use general search engines nine or more times per month, only 35 percent indicated loyalty to one search engine. Yet, when indexed by familiarity, frequency of use, and loyalty, Internet mapping sites were ranked number one, followed by general search engines.
Interestingly, after mapping sites and general search, Internet Yellow Pages, online classifieds, shopping search sites and entertainment information sites are among the top five online search behaviors, followed by online travel sites, local destination sites and vertical directories. The popularity of mapping sites also is probably a big reason Google swooped down and acquired Keyhole Satellite Mapping Search.
Shopping search and Internet Yellow Pages sites both show signs of promise. Thirty-seven percent of online consumers are already very familiar with shopping search sites and just over 75 percent of respondents stated that comparing prices and/or merchants was their favorite aspect of shopping online. Nearly half of respondents (43 percent) said that they preferred to research and shop online, while roughly 28 percent displayed some combination of offline/online behavior.
“Shopping search is a growth category. Consumers love getting the best shopping value. Our technology enables it by searching, sorting and weighing pricing, in-stock availability, customer service and a host of other variables to find users just what they want,” said Chuck Davis, president and CEO of leading comparison shopping site BizRate.com. “As online shopping becomes increasingly mainstream, buyers are more aware that comparison shopping sites save them time and money. In fact, we grew by 60 percent year-over-year in September to 11.41 million visitors, making us the largest independent comparison shopping site.”
Similarly, Internet Yellow Pages sites performed well ranking third overall. The notion of “local” is not lost on users. More than 74 percent of survey respondents said that they perform local searches. The data also showed that, on average, 27 percent of their total search behavior was for local information. Nearly 75 percent of local search users indicated the relevance and completeness of local information online had either somewhat or significantly improved versus a year ago. Coupled with the strong performance of mapping sites and Internet Yellow Pages sites, the use of the Internet for finding local information should accelerate over time.