Google and US giants still steal the show in UK visits

It is hardly surprising that Google tops website visits among UK internet users. It has been the dominant company for several years, and its strong lead over any other site (gaining over 7% of all website visits from the UK) highlights the challenge its rivals face.

The list of the top ten sites makes clear how the Net is still dominated by large US firms (just one of the top ten, Wanadoo, is not US-based) – a fact which holds true for online retail as well, where Amazon and Dell top the rankings.

The list of most popular sites highlights the importance of search and portals for most internet visits as a guide through the morass of sites.

The list of search terms shows the basic nature of many people’s online use. This creates opportunities for companies that are able to finetune their search engine strategy, but their rivals are never going to be far away. In this context, having a strong brand to encourage people to visit your site is clearly going to be an important factor.

Among the most popular UK retail sites, Tesco and Argos have managed to turn offline brands into strong online offers. The list, though, is dominated by companies that have either built their businesses online (Amazon, Dell, Play.com) or are in a sector that was among the earliest converts to the internet, such as the travel industry (Expedia, easyJet and Ryanair). Apple’s presence among them owes a lot to the popularity of the iPod – one of the strongest new brands to emerge in the past five years.

The increasing popularity of watching TV over the internet highlights another way the Web could prove disruptive in the future. Already 2.6 million people have watched a TV programme on the Web and this trend could have the same impact on the TV industry as it has had on travel.

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