Sunday November 27, 2022

DuckDuckGo Growth Drops As It Celebrates Milestone

DuckDuckGo celebrates a milestone of 100 billion total searches, but the search engine’s year-over-year growth is slowing down.

In an announcement on Twitter, DuckDuckGo highlights the fact it hit 100 billion private searches, noting:

Your search history wasn’t a data point
What you searched for stays with you
Users recognize their right to privacy and chose to use it

If you dig into the numbers, however, it’s evident DuckDuckGo’s selling point is losing its appeal.

DuckDuckGo’s average daily search volume grew 17% from January 2021 to January 2022.

That’s the slowest rate of growth for DuckDuckGo in the past five years, and a steep drop from the growth it experienced in 2020 to 2021.

From January 2020 to January 2021, DuckDuckGo’s average daily search volume grew 73%.

In the years before that it was hitting over 50% growth.

Here’s a breakdown of DuckDuckGo’s growth in daily searches:

January 2021 to January 2022 – 17% increase
January 2020 to January 2021 – 73% increase
January 2019 to January 2020 – 52% increase
January 2018 to January 2019 – 62% increase
January 2017 to January 2018 – 61% increase
January 2016 to January 2017 – 30% increase

At the very least, DuckDuckGo sustained the growth it achieved from 2020 to 2021 and increased it by a small margin.

That’s a positive thing compared to a year-over-year decrease in daily search volume.

More Evidence Of DuckDuckGo’s Waning Popularity

Last January, all signs were pointing to DuckDuckGo’s popularity growing like never before.

Not only was search volume up over 50% year-over-year, but it hit #1 in the iOS App Store in the Utilities category.

DuckDuckGo even cracked the top 10 in the iOS App Store among all apps.

Now?

It’s sitting at #18 in the Utilities category, and is so low among all apps that the data isn’t available.

Screenshot from similarweb.com/app/app-store, January 2022.

But Wait, There’s More!

Last year at this time, DuckDuckGo was the #2 mobile search engine in the US.

This year it lost the #2 spot to Yahoo. Now, DuckDuckGo is the third most popular mobile search engine among US searchers.

Screenshot from gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share, January 2022.

By all measures, DuckDuckGo is losing steam.

It’s possible that the search engine is suffering from lack of innovation.

There were no notable developments from DuckDuckGo last year, other than the company announcing plans to launch a desktop browser.

Another possibility is privacy isn’t a great concern to people when they search the web.

Or they do care about it, but they’ve decided it’s not worth the tradeoff of switching from Google to DuckDuckGo.

The data suggests there’s a limited amount of users who care enough about privacy to change their search behavior, and perhaps DuckDuckGo has reached a majority of those people.

As much as DuckDuckGo touts privacy as a good thing for searchers, it can also be a hinderance when it comes to the quality of search results.

This is especially true when it comes to local searches. Since DuckDuckGo doesn’t know your exact location, its search results struggle to provide the same value as Google’s local SERPs.

Let’s see if the 100 billion milestone encourages DuckDuckGo to continue building on what it has already created and offer more to searchers.

Sources: DuckDuckGo, Statcounter, SimilarWeb

Featured Image: Ralf Liebhold/Shutterstock

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