Pew Internet & American Life Project: 49% Use Search Daily

How often do people use a search engine?

The percentage of Internet users who use search engines on a typical day has soared from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one half (49%), according to the latest study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

How often people search is one of the key questions in understanding the success of Google and other search engines. Search has become embedded in our daily lives.

Key finding: Search is gaining fast on email as the most popular Internet activity.

The number of people using a search engine on a typical day has gained ground on the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the Internet's all-time killer app.

How does the growth rate of search compare to the growth rate of email over the same time period?

Underscoring the dramatic increase over time, the percentage of internet users who search on a typical day grew 69% from January 2002 to May 2008. During the same six-year time period, the use of email on a typical day rose from 52% to 60%, for a growth rate of just 15%.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project concluded that these new figures propel search further out of the pack, well ahead of other popular internet activities, such as checking the news (39%) or checking the weather (30%) on a typical day.

As our readers know, search engine users more likely to be upscale, with at least some college education and incomes over $50,000 per year.

About the author

Kevin Heisler, formerly the executive editor of Search Engine Watch, is a search and advertising industry veteran. His former roles include VP, strategic accounts for integrated digital marketing firm 360i; director of business development for Didit Search Marketing; and search industry analyst at Jupiter Research.

To contact current Search Engine Watch editorial staff, please click here.