This Is What They Search For: The Most Popular US Industries & Traffic Shares

Posted by Alex-T

After storing this idea in mothballs for quite a while, I finally decided to conduct an analytical study that would breakdown the most popular industries in the US based on the number of monthly online visitors. Special thanks to the SimilarWeb team, who helped me with the convoluted process of assembling data on the industry traffic distribution across 1,000 top-visited US domains.

The purpose of this research isn’t just to share some general trends and observations that will leave you thinking, “Sounds interesting, but what’s next?” I’ve also included a bunch of actionable ideas based off of the data I went over myself.

For those of you wondering whether it’s worth it to read this article in its entirety, below are the key findings:

  1. Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, and Amazon own 32.34% of the total US traffic market. These five online giants decide which sites we’re going to visit next and what ads we see.
  2. The top five industries in the US are Internet and Telecom, Arts and Entertainment, News and Media, Shopping, and Adult Entertainment. Altogether, these businesses control 82.55% of the US market share.
  3. In the Internet and Telecom Category, search engines and social network sites get up to 95% of the traffic share.
  4. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the most visited search engine sites in the US However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people use Yahoo as a search engine.
  5. Wikipedia.org has over 4.7 billion monthly users, with 86% of those users coming from organic search. Wikipedia is known to be a traffic-generating site.
  6. In the Shopping category, 74% of market traffic is split between Amazon (51.24%) and eBay (22.01%).
  7. Despite the fact that gambling is legally restricted in the US, it doesn’t stop YouTube from actively promoting this industry worldwide.
  8. In the Business sector, industries like Marketing, Advertising, and E-commerce have the smallest share compared to other subcategories.
  9. The tourism industry is extremely competitive; however, it has a diverse range of small- and medium-sized players, since the top domains occupy only 17% of the total market share.

82.55% of all US online traffic is shared among five industries

Over 80% of all US online surfers are divided among five industries, while the rest of the traffic (15%) is spread across more than 15 other niches. Among the top five leaders are Internet Telecom (45.9%), Arts and Entertainment (12.35%), News and Media (9.35%), Shopping, and the Adult industry.

I expected to see the Shopping industry at the top of the list with a much higher percentage of traffic, but it may not have made it to the top three because SimilarWeb defines YouTube as part of the Arts and Entertainment industry, which drives over 36% of traffic in this category.

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