How are people changing priorities in the new year?
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How are people changing priorities in the new year?January 2022
With the new year underway, people are looking for ways to make positive changes. Google Search queries for “fitness apps” and “treadmill for sale” grew globally by over 40% year over year. Searches for “electric vehicle charging,” “volunteer opportunities near,” and “sustainability” have all increased as well. Join members of Google’s Ads Research and Insights team as they explore what these trends mean and help clarify their importance for today’s marketer.
Ashley Wells: How are people aiming to power their potential in the new year? How are we reevaluating our priorities? And why are we searching for ways to make life better for others?
At the end of every year, Google reports on the top trends in Search. Join us as we discuss what last year’s trends can tell us about moving into the new year with a new attitude. But before we dive in, don’t forget to hit that Subscribe button.
Once a month, a group of data analysts and marketers get together to explore the most recent trends in Google Search. The Insights Jam team includes Nina Taniguchi, consumer insights manager; Casey Fictum, product marketing manager; Dan Trovato, data insights manager; and me, Ashley Wells, consumer insights manager
Hey, team. Welcome back to the first Insights Jam of 2022.
Happy New Year! Hoping everyone is feeling rested, ready to go, ready to talk insights for the new year. To kick us off, we’re going to dive into some of the biggest trends in Search to indicate what’s to come based on Year in Search from 2021.
Let’s dive right into the first theme, which is “A better me.” This year was really unique in the sense that people didn’t wait to the end of the year to start thinking about ways to better themselves. So what we saw is searches for things like “fitness apps” and “treadmill for sale” growing globally by over 40% year over year.
Nina Taniguchi: Besides, you know, physical health, people are also increasingly focusing on mental and emotional well-being as well. I think, you know, even pre-pandemic this was a growing trend. I think maybe last year, it might’ve been a tipping point with, you know, prominent athletes coming out and being very open and vocal about that. And we saw some of that reflected in the searches that we saw last year.
So I’m seeing here that searches for “mental health awareness month” grew by over 50% year over year, and it was already growing so that we’re seeing that theme as a sustained trend.
Casey Fictum: So for me, “better me” is more about something that I’ve seen in our Insights Jams for the past few years that gets me more excited than anything. And it seems dull on the surface, and that is image searches on Google.
So “A better me” search I remember, was, we saw Google Image Searches for “skincare” grow globally by over 600% year over year. Why does that pop to me? Because I’ve been really in tune to that behavior for certain terms where clearly people want that visual SERP result. They don’t really want the traditional result.
Why does that matter? If you’re a marketer, well, you need to have some of those visuals. It’s another place for you to rank. It’s also another place in whatever it is that you offer to make sure you’re in tune to what people want visually from you, not just in text.
Think about your brand and think about where that could exist and pay attention this year for any image search trends that we share, because I feel like those are kind of going to be telling to this future state and this future world where images become more interesting in the world of Search.
Dan Trovato: If I’m going to connect what you’re talking about with image searches with what we’ve mentioned before on mental and physical health, I think they all kind of fall into this bucket of aspirational searches. And we’ve seen that in other areas of search as well, right?
So last year, the pandemic really forced people to reflect on what they wanted to do with their lives. And we saw tons and tons of searches around skill building.
Whether that was more sort of traditional forms of skill building — we saw searches for “loans for students” grew globally by 200% year on year and “online learning” by 80% year over year. If I’m a business and I’m looking for new customers, 2022 is the year of the new customer, because people’s habits have been completely thrown out the window. They’re super open to learning new skills, trying new products.
Nina: Yeah. I just thought of my New Year’s resolution, which is embarrassing — Dan knows this about me. I don’t know how to ride a bike. So — and I definitely searched for “adult bike lessons near me,” so maybe I will actually learn how to do that this year.
Ashley: Well, speaking of resolutions and making bike riding a priority for next year, I think that nicely segues us into our second theme, which is “Reevaluating priorities.”
So, you know, I think the big-ticket item for this year, with all the uncertainty around health and the economy, was really people reevaluating what’s important to them. And so all of these things come into this kind of paradigm as we think about the digital world and in real life. And what’s interesting with this is, I think, perhaps things that were highly convenient for people to do during the pandemic, we’re starting to see, have really had a lot of growth in the past year.
So things like “order food delivery” grew 70% globally year over year. “Online dating” grew over 200% globally year over year. And then on the flip side of that, you have people who are just eager to return back to normal in-person experiences, particularly in industries that were, you know, hardest hit by the pandemic.
So if you think about travel, for example, we’re seeing searches for things like “best all inclusive resorts,” which has grown globally by over 30% year over year. So definitely consumers really tuning into this hybrid approach as they think about how they want to prioritize their lives in the new year.
Dan: I love that you mentioned priorities, Ashley, and I think in Search data we see how people have thought about priorities and the demand for services in particular. The growth in searches for services has been explosive over the past year, and it’s really fascinating.
We’ve seen “house cleaning services near me,” “handyman near me,” and “lawn mowing service near me” all more than double over the past year. Huge growth. And so, if I’m a small-business owner right now, I’m thinking, “How can I free up time for my customers?”
Nina: Yeah. I mean, I think that just tying what you’ve just mentioned, Dan, about time savings, and I think the point Ashley made earlier around convenience, I think as people kind of reevaluate their priorities, convenience is a huge factor in that, right? It’s like, What makes things easier for me?
One of the areas that we’ve seen grow, particularly in this past year, related to that is growth in searches for all types of apps, right? So, for example, you know, “shopping apps” have grown globally by over 80% year over year, up already a huge base. Also “hotel booking app” growing over 100%.
Nina: It’s easy for marketers to look at that and say, Oh gosh, if I don’t have that app, I should develop an app tomorrow. I don’t think that’s necessarily the takeaway. It’s more around, you know, thinking about, How do I make my experience that I provide my customers, uh, as seamless and easy as possible? How do I enhance my customers’ lives with every interaction they have with my brand?
Ashley: Yeah, Nina. I think that’s a really great point because, personally, I feel like my app usage has skyrocketed in the past year. And it definitely makes a difference if you have something additional to offer other than just the app format in itself — uh, for me specifically — whether it’s shopping or quicker delivery or perks for using the app rather than the actual website. So I think that really resonates with myself personally, and I think I agree, we see that resonate with consumers as well.
Ashley: That takes us nicely into our third theme, which is “Beyond green.” So this year, you know, along with all the uncertainty about health and well-being, and all of the things that we’ve mentioned previously, one of the big things that the pandemic has really challenged is to make people consider other people’s welfare. So really reinforcing this idea around sustainability, community building and involvement, and even conscious consumption. Which again, another theme that we’ve touched on in the past as well.
Ashley: So, for example, we saw searches for “electric vehicle charging,” which rose by over a 100% globally year over year. Google Image Searches specifically for “environment” have grown globally by 35% year over year. There’s a plug for Google Images there. And also searches for “sustainability” have grown globally by over 30% year over year. And I think there are really some cool things happening in the industry — and specifically I’ll touch on financial institutions — where they’re making strides in the direction to really help things go green.
Ashley: So, from a credit card perspective, I think about brands like Aspiration or Doconomy, who provide users with carbon tracking on their spending, and you can really kind of link those behaviors to your consumption directly. And so, really interesting ways to provide perks and benefits as it pertains to really going green. And I think it’s a really interesting way to disrupt the financial industry and something that other competitors should really kind of keep in mind as the blueprint moving forward as we think about saving the environment and just doing some good.
Casey: I remember we talked about e-commerce brands allowing folks to shop for value, and sustainability being one of the primary use cases that we saw there. I thought that was ridiculously innovative and very cool. I’d be interested in what is going to overindex, because sustainability is clearly overindexed across the board on our Search trends, which tells you, like, if you are going to focus on values, this is one that you need to think about and should be in that set of choices, let’s say, for a filter on e-commerce.
So I’d be curious to see in terms of rank, or just other things we see popping in Search, what other values-driven, I guess, categories or buckets are we seeing because that would then matter to what would essentially be the focal point of any given effort like filtering for value.
Nina: One of the things that immediately comes to mind is, you know, searches we’ve seen around community building or just community mindedness. So things like, you know, “volunteer opportunities near me.” That particular search has grown globally by over 100% year over year. And, as a related point, there was a study released in August of 2020 by a company called Points of Light where they found that, you know, over 70% of Americans that they surveyed said that they believed volunteering was going to be more important than ever after the pandemic.
So that’s really encouraging. Other searches like “donation centers near me” has grown globally by over 100% year over year. Even searches for “equality” growing globally by over 40% year over year.
Dan: You know, we all get to meet monthly and dig into searches and really see what people’s intentions are. And to see, you know, people’s intentions to do good, to give back to their community, to help the environment, and that that trend is as big and growing, I think it makes me really — you know, I love to be able to share it with folks and also it makes me really hopeful for 2022.
Ashley: Thanks, guys. This has been such an inspiring discussion. Unfortunately, it’s already time for us to wrap up. Thank you so much again. I’m so, so glad that we were able to kick off the new year together to talk insights, and here is to more insights throughout the year. See you, guys.
Ashley: Thanks for joining the Insights Jam. It’s always so interesting to track trends and see how people embrace what they value most. If you enjoyed this video, don’t forget to subscribe to the Think with Google channel to get access to our other great content. We’ll be back soon. Until then, you keep searching, and we’ll keep exploring what it all means.
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