United Kingdom Newsletter - November, 2006

Specific to this issue:
Google and Yahoo! Post Gains in UK Search Market
Data from the latest Hitwise UK Search Update reveal that Google and Yahoo! Search's share of the search market is growing and driving up the share of referrals from search engines to retail websites.

Google powered 78% of UK internet searches in the four weeks to 21st October 2006, up 9% year-on-year. Yahoo! took the #2 rank based on share of executed UK searches with 7.7% of the search market. Together Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN Search and Ask.com powered 96.6% of all UK internet searches, up 2% year-on-year.

Hitwise analysis reveals that the share of referrals from search engines has been increasing to key e-commerce categories including Travel Agencies, Appliances & Electronics and Insurance. In the week to 21st October 2006:

  • Travel Agencies received 39% of upstream visits from search engines, up 7% in the past six months;
  • The Appliances & Electronics category received 36% of upstream visits from Search Engines, up 9% in the past six months;
  • The Business & Finance - Insurance category received 35% of upstream visits from Search Engines, up 14% in the past six months.

It appears that consumers are increasingly using search engines to navigate the web, with the importance of search engines growing as a source of referrals for retailers. Google and Yahoo! Search in particular are seeing strong growth in their share of the UK search market and their share of referrals to online retailers. Growth for these search engines seems to be organic, driven in part by toolbar usage but also growing familiarity with the Google and Yahoo! brands.

Many leading UK websites receive little to no search traffic from paid listings, with MySpace, Bebo and the BBC all receiving less than 1% of their search traffic from paid listings. Hitwise analysis reveals that whilst there appears to be no indication that paid search is a defining factor for top ranking based on share of internet visits, leading retailers tend to engage in at least some paid search activity.

There are top 10 players in the Travel Agencies, Appliances & Electronics and Insurance industries that receive a relatively small proportion of their search traffic from paid listings. Cheapflights.co.uk in particular stands out as a top 10 player with a larger proportion of its own traffic coming from search engines (54% in the week to 21st October 2006) but a relatively low share (29% of its search traffic) from paid listings.

To download a copy of the report, click here.

Most popular Travel Agency Search Terms
The following report lists the most popular terms typed into a search engine in the UK over the 4 weeks ending 18/11/2006 that resulted in traffic to websites classified by Hitwise within the 'Travel - Agencies' category.
Search Terms to an Industry : 'Travel - Agencies'
  Rank Search Term Share
1. expedia 1.66%
2. cheap flights 1.38%
3. thomas cook 1.25%
4. first choice 0.89%
5. thomson holidays 0.86%
6. holidays 0.84%
7. lastminute.com 0.67%
8. flights 0.61%
9. thomson 0.56%
10. last minute 0.49%

(PRODUCT) RED - www.joinred.com
Position for August: 59
Position for October: 3
Positions jumped: 56

Red, part of the (RED) brand established to raise awareness and money to invest in African AIDS programs, received a dramatic online boost through its promotion on MySpace last month, resulting in it becoming the 3rd most visited Humanitarian site in October.

In the week of the promotion, MySpace accounted for 89.5% of upstream visits to (PRODUCT) Red and MySpace Mail was the No. 2 referrer of visits, accounting for 3.83% of website visits.

MySpace members received two emails from MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson, encouraging them to become friends of (RED). The email directed members to (RED)'s MySpace profile myspace.com/joinred which includes links to (PRODUCT) Red and other related websites. (PRODUCT) Red became the No. 18 downstream website from MySpace, which last week ranked No. 10 based on share of UK internet visits among all categories of websites.

Brands associated with (RED) also benefited from the MySpace promotion. Converse Online received 9.34% of downstream visits from (PRODUCT) Red during the promotion, Gap received 7.9%, and American Express 2.16%.

November Hitwise - IMRG Hot Shops List
In the latest Hitwise - IMRG Hot Shops list, Amazon.co.uk continued to dominate the No. 1 spot in the Hot Shops List, while Play.com jumped four places into the number 2 position, relegating Argos to third place. Online heavyweights Tesco.com, Amazon.com, Easyjet and Expedia.co.uk all maintained their top ten slots, coming in at #4, #5, #6 and #7, respectively.

New entrants to the Hot Top Ten were Apple Computer, RyanAir.com and British Airways.

Eight new merchants made the November Hot Shops List. The fastest riser, Tesco Direct was a new entrant to both the List and the marketplace at No. 22.

Strong performances were also recorded for Woolworths, 16 places higher than its initial rank of 41 occupied in August and May, while Marks & Spencer, at No. 14, continued to make good progress, having climbed from 19th position in August, and 23rd in May.

To download a copy of the Hot Shops List, click here

Global Warming - Will the Stern Report Dampen Demand for Cheap Flights?

The release of the recent Stern Report, calling for eco-taxes and the curtailing of cheap flights, has caused a surge in online interest for global warming. The share of UK internet searches for "global warming" and "climate change" each doubled the week to 4th November 2006, when the report was released. Average session duration for the HM Treasury website saw an increase of 1 minute 24 seconds in the week of release to 5 minutes 12 seconds, indicating that consumers were reading at least parts of the 700-page report.

Will the Stern Report dampen appetite for cheap flights? Hitwise data show that searches for "stern report" dropped back down following the release of the report, after a one-week spike. However, searches for "global warming" remained high - ahead of searches for the most popular destination-related searches that included the words "cheap flights".

Shopping and Classifieds - Video and Games
This category includes sites that sell video products such as DVD, computer games and videos online. All sites » Weekly rankings for the week ending 18/11/2006 » Ranks by 'Visits'.
Shopping and Classifieds - Video and Games All sites Weekly rankings for the week ending 18/11/2006
  Rank Website
1. Play.com
2. HMV.co.uk
3. Tesco Entertainment
4. CD Wow!
6. WHSmith.co.uk
7. LoveFilm.com
8. Savapoint
9. ADSA Entertainment
10. Half.com
Local Competitiveness Index
of traffic to this category was directed at domestic sites.
Top 10 Upstream Categories
1. Computers and Internet 43.0%
2. Shopping and Classifieds 38.2%
3. Computers and Internet - Search Engines 28.1%
4. Shopping and Classifieds - Department Stores 10.5%
5. Shopping and Classifieds - Video and Games 9.4%
6. Entertainment 8.0%
7. Shopping and Classifieds - Music 7.4%
8. Shopping and Classifieds - Books 6.0%
9. Shopping and Classifieds - Auctions 5.8%
10. Computers and Internet - Email Services 5.3%

Top 10 Downstream Categories
1. Shopping and Classifieds 49.3%
2. Computers and Internet 23.7%
3. Shopping and Classifieds - Video and Games 15.8%
4. Shopping and Classifieds - Department Stores 12.8%
5. Shopping and Classifieds - Music 11.9%
6. Computers and Internet - Search Engines 11.7%
7. Entertainment 11.5%
8. Shopping and Classifieds - Books 10.4%
9. Shopping and Classifieds - Rewards and Directories 5.5%
10. Business and Finance 5.0%

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