No, ChatGPT isn’t stealing Google’s search market share

Reporting on Google’s market share these days is like reporting on the sky (did you know it’s blue?).

Yet today, Seeking Alpha published an article with a clickable headline of ChatGPT eats away at Google search’s dominance.

This article (which is paywalled, so I’m not linking to it) is based on a Bank of America report (why is Bank of America talking about search market share?), which is based on data from StatCounter and Similar Web, which I learned of via an X post by Greg Sterling.

By the numbers. Google’s worldwide search market share, according to StatCounter:

  • October 2023: 91.53%
  • October 2022: 92.34%

This is Google’s lowest global search market share in the past 12 months. But is this ChatGPT eating into Google’s search market share? Extremely unlikely.

The problem? Statcounter doesn’t track ChatGPT because – hello? – it isn’t a search engine. It’s an LLM-based generative AI chatbot.

Relatively stable. Google Search has been “relatively stable” over the past 12 months, according to the report. Well, yes. But we can actually go further back than that on StatCounter.

Google has been “relatively stable” since August 2015. That’s the month Google surpassed 91% search market share worldwide for the first time.

In the past seven years, Googe’s search market share has bounced around from 91.1% (December 2015) to 93.37% (February 2023). For most of these eight years, ChatGPT didn’t exist, including from April to August 2018 when Google’s search market share dipped below 91%.

What about Bing? Microsoft Bing is still down year-on-year, 3.13% (October 2023) vs. 3.59% (October 2022), according to Statcounter. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has warned us that AI will make Google more dominant.

Dig deeper. The new Bing has failed to take any market share from Google after six months.

Other numbers. Some month-over-month comparisons from Similar Web:

  • Google traffic declined to 2.8 billion (down 0.4%).
  • Bard traffic increased to 8.7 million (up 2%).
  • Bing traffic increased to 42.7 million (up 8%)
  • ChatGPT traffic increased to 55 million (up 4%). An important reminder here – ChatGPT’s traffic is only 2% of Google’s web traffic.

Why we care. Generative AI is – and will continue to – reshape search as we know it. But false narratives aren’t helpful for anybody. Google is still as dominant as it has been since 2015. The impact of Google, ChatGPT and generative AI on search is a story for search marketers to watch. But for now, there’s nothing to see here.

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