Back in the world: Rising expectations, seasonal plans, and long-term trends
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Back in the world: Rising expectations, seasonal plans, and long-term trendsApril 2022
In 2022, people got busy planning for the year ahead: looking forward to seasonal moments, new experiences, and getting out of the house. Find out what “late night shopping” and “dog friendly restaurants” have in common and why “makeup game” and “hair trends female” searches are growing globally. Join members of Google’s Ads Research and Insights team as they review recent trends and discuss their import for today’s marketer.
Ashley Wells: Where are we seeing changes in people’s expectations? What seasonal activities are gaining steam? And which trends are tracking that have real staying power. Join the Insights Jam team as we explore how people are getting back in the world. Tap that subscribe button, and welcome to the Jam.
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 Samantha Gelinas, consumer insights manager; Casey Fictum, creative product lead; Dan Trovato, data insights manager; and me, Ashley Wells, consumer insights manager.
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another Insights Jam. Now, before we start talking about what’s trending in Google Search, I want to welcome our newest Insights Jam teammate, Samantha Gelinas. She’s a consumer insights manager on our team, and she focuses on the commerce side. Welcome, Samantha.
Team: [crosstalk] Welcome. Hi, Sam. Thank you so much everyone.
Samantha Gelinas: I’m so excited to be here and joining you on the Insights Jam. I don’t know that I’m going to be able to compete with Dan on the dad joke front, but I am planning to sneak in a few data points from my commerce research at Google. So, hopefully, that’ll be of interest to everyone.
Ashley: Absolutely. And we’re super excited to have you as well. So, let’s go ahead and kick off. One thing we’re seeing recently is a rise in people’s expectations around getting out, socializing, and spending more. Dan, what stands out to you about this trend?
Dan Trovato: Hey Ashley, what are the only types of jokes that are allowed during the pandemic?
Ashley: Uh … I don’t know, Dan. What do you got?
Dan: Inside jokes.
Ashley: [laughter] Good one, Dan.
Dan: But, listen, to answer your question, we’re seeing these incredible signs of reopening, but people’s expectations for how brands can accommodate their unique needs during the pandemic have increased. And so, all the people who bought a pandemic dog now want to travel, and they have to think about: What does that mean when I want to travel for the first time?
So, for example, we see Google Searches for “dog friendly restaurants” have grown globally by over a 100% year on year. And that includes “dog friendly restaurants near me,” “dog friendly restaurants london,” “dog friendly restaurants edinburgh.” And other recent dog-related searches are things like, “dog friendly hotels,” “boarding for dogs,” and “dog walkers.”
So what this is all saying is, if I’m a small-business owner right now, I can anticipate my customer’s needs by saying to myself, “How have my customer’s needs changed due to the pandemic?” and “What will that mean now that reopening is happening?”
Ashley: Yeah. And Dan, to your earlier point, people’s expectations really have changed, especially around getting what they need quickly and easily.
We’ve seen a lot of brands adapt to these types of conveniences that consumers are looking for, whether it be two-day shipping, curbside pickup, order online and pickup in-store. So there’s a lot of expectations for those things, but there also seems to be a shift in when consumers are buying.
We’ve seen searches for “late night shopping” grow globally by over 100% year over year. Some of the examples are “late night shopping near me” and “when does late night shopping start”? We obviously know consumers have a lot more flexibility in their schedule these days, and that gives them the opportunity to do more of their shopping later in the day.
So with that being said, I think there’s a huge opportunity especially for smaller brands to really kind of think about how they can accommodate their operating hours to fit that need. And also to give themselves a bit of a competitive edge when it comes to other local shoppers as well.
Samantha: Yeah. Things have changed so much. Do you remember when people were really impressed with two-day shipping? And now they’re expecting to have next-day shipping, and two-day shipping seems like old news. Searches for “next day flower delivery” have grown globally by over 800% year on year. I think it really brings to life the point that you were making, Ashley, that people are increasingly looking for faster ways to get what they need.
And it also shows that there will always be a market for procrastinators, like myself.
Casey Fictum: So speaking of presence and the late-night shopping trend that you pointed out, Ashley, we are noticing that people are expecting customer service to be around all those times a day, and to be more available than typically. So searches for “24 7 customer service” have grown globally by over 500% year over year.
And some examples of that are “amazon 24 7 customer service number” as well as “facebook 24 7 customer service.” So clearly they’re expecting any time of day that they can get a hold of someone to be there when they’re in the moment of shopping.
Ashley: Yeah. Really great point, Casey. So let’s actually move on to our next trend, which is around seasonal plans.
People are really looking for things to get back out into the world, and they’re really looking to plan and make plans to do so. Dan, what are some interesting things you were saying with this trend?
Dan: So we see in Google data, searches for “unique things to do in” have grown globally by over 100% year on year.
I think there’s a really interesting point to make here about automation. So if I’m a small-business owner in the tourism or entertainment industry, how can I leverage automation to help me anticipate if someone who’s searching for unique things to do would be excited and interested in my unique product offering?
So understanding which of my campaigns, for example, are doing well and which I should bid more aggressively for is really difficult to do manually, but things like automated bidding tools can actually help for campaigns that are performing really well and that deserve more traffic.
Samantha: Yeah. I think building on what you were talking about, Dan, when it comes to inspiration, I think specifically Google Search is where people are turning, especially during key seasonal events, like Valentine’s Day.
We saw searches for “valentines day nails” grow globally by over 70% year over year, with top searches, including “red valentines day nails,” “simple valentines day nails,” and “valentines day nails 2022.” What really piques my interest in this search is how early we saw the search happening. So this data was pulled from November 23 to January 21, which is at least three weeks before Valentine’s Day.
And it really illustrates a larger trend that we’ve been seeing in our research at Google, which is that people are planning and shopping for these big moments earlier than they have been before. In fact, recent research that we partnered with Ipsos on found that 40% of U.S. holiday shoppers will consider shopping much earlier for other milestones this year ahead.
I just think that shift has so many implications for businesses and retailers, and they really need to have a strategy for this. Businesses need to make sure that their campaigns are capturing demand for a broader window of time, knowing that people are starting earlier, but that you’re still going to have these procrastinators like me at the end of the shopping window. And they also need to have a strategy for these upper funnel searches.
Ashley: Really great points there, Samantha. And now on to our final topic: trends that have staying power. We know there’s been tons and tons of change in the world, and people are ready to get back out there, but they’re also comfortable staying in since the digital space is now so much a part of what it means to be social.
Casey, what trends are you tracking?
Casey: Yeah, staying trends. One category we see a lot of staying trends in is beauty, fashion, and that’s because people are constantly looking for the new trend. I’m also going to go to image searches — my favorite category, if you’ve watched any of our other episodes, you’ll know that.
Image searches for “hair trends female” have grown globally by over 800% year over year. So again, this is people looking for visual stimulation, and I think that has lasting power, because they’re always going to be looking for the latest in hair trends, fashion trends. Now I, personally, could use it. I’ve … this hair’s getting real boring to me, and I’m sure you can notice. Anyway, Samantha, Dan, is there anything else in terms of staying power outside of image searches that you’ve seen?
Samantha: I just want to make a point actually specifically about the hair searches that you’re talking about. We saw a lot of these kinds of searches last year, and, initially, I thought that these searches were happening because people had been under lockdown and were looking to cut their hair after businesses had been closed.
But I think it’s really speaking to something bigger than that. And that is that, you know, people are looking for inspiration in this beauty space. And I think it’s something that we’re going to see stick around for a long time.
Dan: Yeah. Speaking of lasting trends, did you all know that another lasting trend is that COVID has put a real damper on comedy? [long pause] For the past two years, no one has walked into a bar.
Sound effects: [crickets]
Dan: Not a horse, not a bear, no one.
So listen, as we approach two years of living with COVID as a global community, I think this “lasting trends” is one of the questions that I get all the time as a data insights manager: “What trends are fleeting and what trends are going to stick?” And while I don’t have a crystal ball, I think one category that I have to mention as having incredible resilience is gaming. Seems like, we went into lockdown, measures increase; gaming goes up. Starting to go into reopening; gaming’s still booming. And most recently we’ve seen Google Searches for “makeup game” have grown globally by over 700% year.
So just enormous growth for something that was already quite huge.
Ashley: Yeah, Dan, I think building on that, what’s interesting for me is, when we first started to really see gaming searches start to really grow, our initial hypothesis — or at least my personal hypothesis — was that: We were locked down, we had to social distance, and people were looking for ways to be social with other people online. But I think what’s interesting here is that, as we start to continue to see such evolvement in the digital space that gaming is still top of mind for everyone.
Samantha: Yeah, that’s a good segue into what I want to talk about, actually. And that is that even though we’re seeing shoppers return to store, they’re still using digital resources, like Google Maps, to research ahead of time and plan their shopping trip. We have a great example here, that maps searches for “nursery plants near me” have grown globally by over 100% year over year.
And these top searches include things like “local nursery plants near me,” “best nursery plants near me,” and “vegetable nursery plants near me.” This is just one of the many unbranded searches that we’re seeing in Google Maps using the phrase “near me.” And I love this. I think it’s such a great example and so interesting, because it shows that the digital presence is critical for the in-store experience. And it also is a great opportunity for small local businesses, because this is a way that they can connect with local consumers and get them in their doors.
Ashley: Well, that’s all the time we have for today’s episode. Thanks so much for joining, team, and I’ll see you all next time.
Team: [crosstalk] Bye, everyone. So long. Thanks, Ashley.
Ashley: I hope you took away some useful insights from our discussion.
Remember to subscribe to our channel to get all of our latest content when it drops. And if you have questions for us, leave a comment below. We’ll see you next time, and, as ever, you keep searching, and we’ll keep exploring what it all means.
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