Mobile search struggling for popularity - research

Brian Turner

May 19, 2011

Mobile search is failing to gain the popularity of its desktop alter ego, despite there now being almost half as many search-enabled smartphones in circulation worldwide1 as PCs2, according to new research from AccuraCast.

Figures indicate that mobile search queries are only running at around 10% of the volume of PC-based search, with UK users being slightly more enthusiastic than average, with mobile search rates at 16.5% of PC search overall.

Use of mobile search varies according to subject and market sector, with categories such as consumer electronics and people seeing mobile search rates at 25% the levels of desktop.

Mobile technology searches are among the best performing, but only searches for ‘ipad’ (55% of desktop volume) and ‘blackberry apps’ (also at 55% of desktop volume) are currently managing to reach some level of parity with desktop.

Even for search topics that are currently the fastest rising in popularity overall, mobile search volumes fail to get anywhere near those of desktop, with top 10 search topics such as ‘justin bieber’ seeing only 20% of searches carried out via mobile devices.

Among a very few notable exceptions, is the preference of UK searchers to find ‘cricket scores’ via their mobile, with search rates running at over 270% of desktop.

“Independent figures show that there are in the region of 500 million browser-enabled mobile devices in use worldwide, compared to over 1 billion PCs, but the search volumes aren’t even close to parity,” explained Farhad Divecha, Director of AccuraCast.

“Arguably, mobile search has tougher competition than desktop given the enormous popularity of apps that are increasingly fulfilling the search needs of users. Similarly, search in general is also facing increasing competition from social networking, which is also hugely popular among mobile users.”


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