Yandex NV (NASDAQ:YNDX) has been substantially ahead of competitors, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Mail.ru in the Russian market. The company has long dominated the search engine space with a market share of roughly 62%, which is more than twice Google’s market share of 26% as of February 2013, according to liveinternet.ru.
In an earlier post on Yandex, I highlighted that the Russian search giant is rapidly racing towards becoming the fourth largest search property in the world. Fast forward two months and Yandex has unseated Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to become the fourth largest search engine in the world.
Moving Up the Search Rankings
For the first time Yandex has overtaken the software powerhouse, Microsoft in terms of the number of search queries worldwide for two consecutive months, according to a comScore qSearch report. In December 2012, Microsoft was responsible for 4.48 Billion search queries and Yandex had 4.84 Billion search queries. As a result, Yandex holds a global market share of 2.8% and Microsoft holds 2.5%.
Surprisingly, Yandex managed to receive more search queries despite having only 74.4 million unique users which is significantly lower than Microsoft’s unique users of 268.6 million, as of December 2012. The table below illustrates the global market share of search engines on a monthly basis, and clearly shows Yandex’s increased prominence.
Global Market Share of Search Engines
|Source: comScore, Estimates|
Not surprisingly, Google leads the pack by a huge distance and maintains it strong position at the top. Whereas, Chinese search titan, Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is steadily losing its grip to the Chinese rising star, Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU). Just like Yandex, Baidu has been long dominant in its own regional market, but in the wake up of competitive threats has lost some market share.
Both Yandex and Baidu have been able to stave off competition from Google by a better understanding of the local language and user preferences in their respective home territories. Also, Yahoo keeps on losing market share in the global marketplace in spite of a search agreement partnership with Microsoft.
Will Yandex Get Stronger in Europe?
Yandex is gaining ground in Russia by overcoming local competitors. In addition to the local market, it has a stong position in nearby countries which includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Yandex has made inroads into Turkey to tap into the growing Internet population of the European country.
However, Yandex’s market share of Turkey is very small and is slight above 1%. Going forward the market share can be expected to increase as Turkey has a population of 76 million and an Internet penetration rate of 46%. In the coming years, Yandex will likely make its way into other European countries once it has more experience operating in nearby countries.
In addition to being the “Google of Russia”, Yandex is making strong progress in other business segments as well. The company operates the Russia’s leading Shopping Comparison site, Yandex.market which has more than 13 million monthly visitors and is frequented by almost 40% of Russian online shoppers. Yandex also has a leading browser, which is integrated with other Yandex services making its 50+ million unique visitors more ‘sticky’.