A new survey reveals what the UK’s internet users have been searching for, by studying which sectors are receiving the most visitors from search engines, and which sectors receive the greatest proportion of traffic from search.

The Nielsen//NetRatings study found that web users in the UK clicked on more than 1.3bn search results in July this year, which equates to 29,000 per minute.

The travel sector received the most, with 41.6m clickthroughs from search engines, which accounted for 4.7% of all clicks. Next was the social networks sector, with 40.2m clicks, followed by research tools, such as Wikipedia, with 39.3m clickthroughs.

Search was the fourth most popular category, receiving 37.4m, or 4.2% of all clickthroughs, with Google predictably the leading brand in the sector. The search engine now accounts for 80% of search clickthroughs in the UK. Yahoo was next on 7.5%, AOL received 5.5%, MSN/Windows Live 2.7%, and Ask.com on 2.1%.

According to Alex Burmaster, European Internet Analyst for Nielsen//NetRatings:

“Britons online are most likely to be searching for travel deals, social networks or reference information through sites like Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers. To see how deeply ingrained search is in the Internet today, one needs to look no further than the fact the fourth most popular search destination is search itself. In other words, people use search engines to find other search engines!”

The study also looked at the percentage of visits coming to each sector from search, revealing that reference and research sites rely on search engine traffic the most, receiving 79% of traffic from search, thanks largely to the prominent position of Wikipedia on many of Google’s search results. Travel websites were next on the list, also relying heavily on search traffic.