Current Search Trends in Online Shopping

Search Listening

Search Listening is a technique that uses anonymised search data to see the trends of searches as an index of all searches on the search engine in that location at the same time. The biggest search engine is Google, so we typically use Google search data. You can also use Google data to find out how people feel by using auto-suggestions. Google’s algorithm creates suggestions based on the number of searches related to that query.
For instance, using Search Listening to find out ‘problems with [YOUR BRAND]’ or trending ‘wants and needs of the public’.

For more information, see our ‘What is Search Listening’ video and blog.

Google Trends normalises search data by dividing each data point by the total searches of the location and time; then, the results are scaled on a range from 0-100. The indices allow us to make easier comparisons between terms because if they were absolute volumes, it wouldn’t be possible to see trends.

The organised among us will be well into their Christmas shopping, especially with Black Friday just passed. So, we thought looking at the shopping trends would be a great example.

Here we illustrate what people have been searching for regarding ‘shopping in the UK’ over the last 30 days.

What can we do with trend information?

We can take a few insights from looking at the search behaviour; we can see that people are searching for ‘Christmas Jumpers’ (garment) right now. This isn’t surprising this time of year. Interestingly, discounts and allowances have increased by 50% over the last 30-days, but this was not in the rising searches this time last year. People actively searching for ‘discounts’ could indicate people are struggling with disposable income since the pandemic in terms of gifting. It would be a great time to offer discounts to attract customers.

Last year PlayStation 5, Xbox and Nintendo Switch were the trending shopping searches near Christmas, but this year there seem to be fewer specific searches and certainly less expensive like the slippers and scarfs.

The difference could be because there isn’t an expensive product released similar to the video consoles.

Trending Christmas jumpers?

We can drill down into the topics people are searching for, which can be helpful to learn what consumers frequently search. For instance, when we drilled down into the ‘Christmas jumpers’ searches, we found that H&M took the top spot in related searches last year. On the other hand, TU (Sainsbury’s clothing brand) is the breakout search this year. Is this because people shop in supermarkets and see this brand more frequently, see the jumpers there, and later search for them?

Bathrobes and slippers have featured as a current rising search which wasn’t apparent last year. Is this because many people work from home now and some offices have announced remote working is here to stay, so loungewear is more popular now?

Google trends allow you to see the related topics and queries and ‘rising searches’, which are the searches that are growing significantly. The term ‘Breakout’ is used instead of a percentage value of the growth of the search term when exceeding 5000%.

We can now show a share of search, which can be a great indicator of your brand health. Again, we have used perfume as an example.

How do we monitor the trends?

We use Google trends to identify the top perfume brands people search in a time period, in this case, the last 30-days. We then worked out their share of search by finding the absolute volume of keywords and creating a Share Of Search (SOS). According to industry leader Les Binet, SOS can be a reliable long-term predictor of market share.

Key Takeaways

By using Search Listening data, you ensure you cater to the wants and needs of people to seek. In addition, this gives you more confidence in implementing these content ideas.

What next?

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