While the rest of the industry battens the hatches, search marketing is seeing its best results in the UK.

Search engine marketing spend grew 11% year on year during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a Brand Republic report.

Efficient Frontiers Search Engine Performance Report Search revealed that spend increased by 14% between the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2008, reflecting a trend for consumers and marketers to increase online activity during the busy Christmas trading period.

Google grew its overall UK market share from 82.6% to 88.2% year on year, largely as a result of its Content network that grew by 300%.

The increase in market share by the search engine was in part at Yahoo!’s expense – its market share dropped from 13.9% to 8.4%. Microsoft Live Search was able to maintain its presence in the UK market at 3.4% market share.

James Beriker, president and chief executive of Efficient Frontier, says “The retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent times as consumers increasingly turn to online shopping and search marketers are now recognising this trend.”