Microsoft’s Bing search engine is over two years old now, an eternity in the IT world, but its lackluster performance by market share has analysts wondering: has Bing peaked?
Bing’s Market Presence
Bing, if you count Yahoo search, which is now powered by Bing, is the search engine preferred by roughly 30% of American searchers, with Google used for about 65% of searches, but its global market share is only 4%, compared to Google’s 80%. This is likely due to Microsoft’s U.S.-focused marketing efforts, but it also suggests an affinity for Google’s results, rather than Bing’s, for foreign-language search results.
The market share has not come cheaply. Microsoft has spent billions in the last year to develop Bing’s Web presence, but data suggests that the majority of market share that it has gained has been at the expense of smaller search engines, rather than Google.
According to industry analysts at Trefis, “Microsoft incurred losses of $2.6 billion in the online division in the fiscal year ended June 30th and lost $728 million last quarter alone. It has been bleeding cash for almost 22 consecutive quarters now, with no signs that it will ever improve.”
Analysts expect investing at this rate to slowly increase Bing’s global market share up to 6% by 2018, but Bing is expected to meet major resistance from Google once all of the smaller search engines have been absorbed by one of the two major engines. Google’s search engine share within the U.S. Is expected to hold steady or increase until 2018, which leaves little room for Bing to gain any market share over the next several years.
The Decision Engine
Bing markets itself as a decision engine, rather than a search engine. What does this mean, exactly? Bing prides itself on offering value-added services to search, like the ability to book a flight or make a restaurant reservation without ever leaving the search page. This is provided by Bing’s API to major sites like OpenTable, Expedia, but it has not been made public to smaller marketers. If Bing was to make this functionality public, so that the sites people visit every day could offer “decision engine” services right on Bing’s search results page, it would shake up the market share of both Bing and Google, but the reception of the service would determine whether Bing comes out on top or simply appears too spammy.
In America, Google is preferred to Bing by younger, more educated, but less wealthy consumers. Bing sees higher advertisement click rates, likely due to the primary demographic being one that has more buying power. Bing’s clearest advantage is in the 55-64 age demographic. Analysts at Microsoft state that “Bing users are 11 percent more likely to buy than Google users, and 31 percent more likely to purchase than the web’s general user. Bing’s is a decidedly “shoppy” demographic that e-commerce companies should not ignore.”
Chinese search giant Baidu recently partnered with Bing to provide English search results to its Chinese customers, which could be the bump that Bing needs to find inroads, if slowly, into the Chinese market, which could jump-start the search engine’s market share.
Whether or not Bing will ever truly compete with Google is a question to be answered ten or more years down the road, but if any tech company has the clout to match Google, Microsoft does. Google’s search empire is worth about $200 billion, so pouring money into the sector is likely to continue for both Microsoft and Google. If it eventually contributes to market share erosion for Google, then Bing is the most likely competitor to see market share gains.
September 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm
Hmm.. I hardly even notice Bing at all.. well it does some advantage on having a higher conversion on it’s users but the real numbers still tell us that google has more of them still.. 😀
September 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm
Hey Jorge, Bing does have some great features, such as airline travel fair predictor. But when it comes to typical day-to-day searches, I am also almost exclusively Google.
October 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm
I think there will be close competitor of Google till at the end of this century as Google is giant search engine and its quality factors are increasing day by day.
October 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Google is king for sure. Thanks for the comment Azhar.
October 2, 2011 at 4:08 am
I live in China and I use Bing more often now, because many times Google will just stop working half way through, because of the Chinese firewall.
I don’t think either Baidu nor Google will be able to be big in China, which is an increasingly important market.
But at least Bing has a foot in.
October 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm
This is true Danny. I am sorry that China limits your freedom on the Internet. It is quiet tragic. I wonder what it is exactly that they don’t want you to see?
October 2, 2011 at 7:22 am
This post lets me want to use bing for a change as well.. I’m sort of an “exclusively for google” my self..
October 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm
Bing is definitely a great alternative Kevin. They both have their advantages for sure.
October 2, 2011 at 11:39 am
Bing and facebook has made a collaboration that can give Bing more business.Today Google has captured much of online business.
October 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm
Collaboration may be the only tool Googl’es competitors have to counter their huge technological and capital advantage.
October 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm
Bing has done some kind of collaboration with Yahoo. Its obvious still Bing can’tcompete with google lets see who holds the future.
October 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm
You are completely correct. Collaboration, not necessarily collusion, will be a great tool in order to defeat Google’s market presence.
October 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm
Thanks for the comment Saud Hussain! You are completely correct. Collaboration, not necessarily collusion, will be a great tool in order to defeat Google’s market presence.
October 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm
Let’s face the truth: do you really use Bing much? I mean if you don’t live in China or somewhere…For most users that don’t have any obstacles to use Google, this SE is #1. I only used Bing a few times, when Google was helpless, but even then Bing was helpless, too. So I normally don’t use it at all. Neither do my friends. Of course if Bing makes some beneficial partnership it will be able to get a bigger marketshare, but still it will never ever kill Google or even become a worthy rival.
October 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm
I rarely use Bing, unless I am looking up when to buy my airline tickets with their price forecaster. Very good point Cathy. Game, set, match.
October 3, 2011 at 7:21 am
Goggle is going bigger and bigger and harder and harder for new search engines to catch it. I agree that Bing is at no 2 but it will,nt reach Goggle because the data i found in Goggle is something impossible to install.
October 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm
Thanks for the comment Reeha. I definitely agree with you.
October 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm
I don’t think Bing is anywhere close to competing with google but knowing certain strengths of bing, it will continue to be of use for us..
October 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm
Thanks Joe. Let’s put it in perspective first. Though Google dominates the marketplace, Bing still has millions of users and many devoted users.
October 4, 2011 at 11:15 am
I think they got a lot of catching up to do. Knowing that when it comes to blogging this two search engine Bing and Yahoo don’t pay much attention on second to third level category only the top level domain. So, if you have a a topic really important under a category don’t bother looking on this two search engine cause they ain’t going to see it as much important as your top level domain. Maybe in some cases they sometimes see it cause I’ve seen some site with domain/category/article that are being index by this two search engines but most of the time it doesn’t try it and see for yourself. Unlike Google whenever you publish an article within 2 – 3 days you will already see your article index by Google. Sometimes only hours when you publish it it’s already being index.
October 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Thanks Kyle. I definitely agree that Google’s algorithm is much more refined and accurate (though certainly not even close to perfect or fair) than Bing and Yahoo.
October 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm
Bing most certainly has a long road ahead of them if they ever wish to hold rank with Google but if yahoo’s acquisition of abc’s news to compete with cnn, and Bing and Yahoo’s search being combined, in 5-10 years who knows what business developments could benefit Bing’s Search. That and in 5-10 years, the age demographic that is using Google now will have fluctuated to the same demo that is dominating Bing’s current search users. That and people “like the pretty pictures”
October 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm
Thanks for the comment Edward. Living in this technological era, we can barely imagine what search and its marketplace will look like in 5-10 years. Even 1 year from now it could be vastly different with many new competitors.
October 16, 2011 at 11:23 am
I know Google is king in terms of market share etc, but personally I prefer searching with Bing – For me, I find it gives more relavent results.
On the internet, things can change very quickly. Who would have thought Yahoo would ever have been toppled 10 years or so ago?
October 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm
This is very true. Amy, have not heard too many people prefer Bing. What reasons do you choose it over Google?
October 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm
A lot of people I know use Bing because it is what came as a default in Internet Explorer. I’m sure a lot of Bing users use it because they can’t be bothered or don’t know how to change.
October 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm
Yes, I love how when you download Chrome, they give you the option to choose which search engine to make your default!
May 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm
Google drive is really nice to online sharing files and folder.
May 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm
I think it is difficult…Thanks for interesting post.