Online Search

In 2020, a year of uncertainty, more people than ever turned to online search engines for information. The number of search queries relating specifically to COVID-19 saw huge increases, as did searches for in-demand products like hand gel, toilet rolls, and yoga mats. More consumers using search engines means more consumer data, resulting in greater potential for advertisers seeking to reach their target audience with relevant ads online. But large tech companies like Google, the dominant market leader in the search sector, are coming under increased scrutiny for their handling of consumer data and digital privacy in general.

Search advertising spending worldwide
104.8bn USD
Search market share of Google worldwide
Search market share of Baidu in China

Market size

Search advertising projected to overtake TV and video ad spend
Internet advertising spending worldwide from 2007 to 2024, by format (in million U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

As can be seen from the success of the market leader Google over the last couple of decades, online search is a lucrative business. In fact, over the next few years, online search is forecast to overtake TV and video to become the advertising industry’s largest segment in terms of ad spend. And by 2022, search advertising expenditure worldwide is expected to reach 137 billion USD.

Search advertising in the U.S.
Digital advertising formats in the U.S.
Online search usage

Market segments

Majority of search is mobile
Mobile share of organic search engine visits in the United States from 3rd quarter 2013 to 2nd quarter 2021
Further details: Visit original statistic

More people than ever are using mobile devices to go online, which has led to mobile overtaking desktop as the most common way users visit search engines. In 2020, mobile devices accounted for over half of organic search engine visits in the US. The availability of smartphones with virtual assistants, and advancements in natural language processing and speech recognition technologies, has resulted in an increase in the number of people using voice searches to access information online.

Mobile search
Voice technology
Ways to engage with voice technologies

Industry leaders

Google’s market dominance
Worldwide desktop market share of leading search engines from January 2010 to December 2021
Further details: Visit original statistic

Google is the dominant market leader in search, in large part thanks to the quality of the search engine itself which is powered by highly advanced algorithms. However, interoperability with the tech giant’s other products, as well as default settings on browsers and mobile devices have really helped to consolidate Google’s powerful position in the sector. Bing is the only real contender to Google in the English-language online search market, albeit with a far smaller market share in comparison.

Google: search engine market share in selected countries

Industry trends

Alternative and regional search providers
Which factors would motivate you to switch search engines?
Further details: Visit original statistic

Many alternative search providers, like Ecosia and DuckDuckGo, use Bing to power their results through syndication agreements. These alternatives are trying to get a foothold in the search market by offering superior online privacy and, in Ecosia’s case, sustainability incentives. In China, where Google is not available due to disputes over censorship regulations, Baidu is the country’s preferred search engine. In Russia, Yandex is the market leader.

Search engines in China
Most popular search engines in Russia
Monthly number of trees financed by Ecosia

Coronavirus impact

Trending searches during the COVID-19 pandemic
Fastest-growing Google search queries regarding the coronavirus pandemic worldwide as of March 2020, by monthly growth
Further details: Visit original statistic

As the coronavirus pandemic spread and began to affect lives around the world, people started using search engines to stay up to date and find the latest information. Search queries relating to COVID-19 increased exponentially, as people checked daily figures, news, and medical advice. People also used search engines to look for products, especially in-demand products that were hard to get hold of in lockdown; from household essentials like toilet roll, to at-home workout gear and loungewear.

Online search usage
Coronavirus: impact on e-commerce in the U.S.
Fastest-growing Google search keywords worldwide

Industry Definition

Statista offers a wide range of statistics, facts, and survey data relating to online search engines. The platform provides up-to-date information on the number of search engine users, global and regional search volumes, as well as online search usage trends and demographics.

In this section, users can find comprehensive data on the world’s leading search engines and internet companies. Statista’s reports and rankings cover everything from reach and penetration rates to visitor numbers, annual revenue figures, and desktop and mobile market shares of the most popular search portals worldwide. Information surrounding trending keywords and technologies can also be found.


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