Search engine use among active Internet users spiked to 114.5 mln unique users or 39% of Americans in January, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. The Internet researcher's report, out today, said that each user spent nearly 40 minutes using search engines during the month. The top five search venues in January were Google (59 million visitors), Yahoo! Search (46 million), MSN Search (45 million), AOL Search (23 million), and Ask Jeeves (13 million).
Nielsen also found that consumers relied heavily on search engines during the 2003 holiday shopping season. Thirty-six percent of those polled said they'd used Google during the shopping fest, while 25 percent used Yahoo! Search. Those numbers decline markedly for the other providers, with 14 percent of respondents citing MSN Search, and five percent for both AOL and Ask Jeeves. Nielsen//NetRatings conducted the poll in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Harris Interactive.