Will Search Engine Traffic Really Drop 25% by 2026, As Gartner Predicts?

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Gartner VP Alan Antin on the company’s prediction that search engine traffic is about to fall off a cliff.

search engine traffic falling off a cliff
AI-generated image by Midjourney/Big Technology

Late last month, Gartner made a stunning prediction, forecasting an imminent and dramatic decline in search engine traffic. “By 2026, traditional search engine volume will drop 25%,” the research firm said, “with search marketing losing market share to AI chatbots and other virtual agents.”

The prediction seemed aggressive, especially given that Microsoft Bing — with its AI chatbot — hadn’t gained much share at all in a hype-filled 2023. If it comes true, it would be an earth-shaking moment in the tech world, leading to chaos within Google and the web. So I asked Gartner to talk.

This week, Gartner Vice President Alan Antin, who made the prediction, spoke with me via video call about what led to the prediction, and how likely it is to hold up.


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