Why are people being frugal with their finances?
Google search queries for “second hand stores” have risen by 300% year over year since 2020. Searches for “no fees” have increased by 90%, while searches for “buy now pay later apps” have grown by 200%. Join members of Google’s Ads Research and Insights team as they analyze these trends and try to suss out the most relevant takeaways for today’s marketer.
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Ashley Wells: Why has interest in “second hand stores” exploded, and why are searches for “no fee cards” going through the roof? What’s a “buy now pay later app,” and when did they get so popular? Stick around to get your answers.
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.
Welcome to the Insights Jam. Thanks for joining us. I’m Ashley, and I’m happy to be here with my colleagues Nina, Casey, and Dan. Hey, everyone, how’s it going?
Everyone: [crosstalk] Hey. Hi.
Nina Taniguchi: And Kiki!
Wells: And Kiki! Hi, Kiki. She’s our honorary Google expert for the day. So let’s jam. Let’s jump in.
Wells: So we’ve seen Google searches for “second hand stores” grow over 300% year over year. Any thoughts initially on how consumers are adjusting and thinking about secondhand stores as they seek to stretch their dollar and be more intentional with how they’re buying and spending?
Trovato: So I’ve actually searched for this one recently, and I kind of feel like when you’ve searched through Google Search data for as long as we have, your life starts to mirror the searches. As I dig into some of the top examples that are driving this growth, some of the examples include both “second hand stores near me” and “online second hand stores.” So I think it’s important to note with this one, there’s both an online and an offline demand for this.
Fictum: Another thing that I wonder is, maybe consumers are looking for ways to make money too, because it’s very clear that there are many brands out there that will give you money for your clothes, and they have ways to do that online. So I wonder if some of this trend speaks to that a bit.
Taniguchi: I think beyond that, though, also is just maybe this movement or increased movement we’re seeing towards a more thoughtful consumption. Greater concern for the environment and looking for more sustainable solutions. I think around 63% of people were saying that they are being more thoughtful about what they spend their money on.
Wells: Yeah, definitely. And I think there’s a little bit of opportunity too for brands to kind of get ahead of this sustainability trend.
Trovato: I think you’re right, Ashley. I think it just makes good business sense. Right? You’re meeting the customer where they are.
Wells: So I think that segues us pretty nicely into our next data point, which is that Google searches for “no fees” have grown globally by 90% year over year. And this one I think is not surprising, given living in this post-pandemic world. People are just finding ways to save on what they can, make the most out of the dollar, and still being able to benefit from the convenience of certain services that are offered.
Fictum: So Ashley, this is one — the example — you said “no fees” as the search trend. And if you think about what Google does as a company, and does well is, we’re able to understand the intent behind a phrase like that. “No fees” on its own, it’s quite general. And so, there are a lot of things that — we see these terms like these a lot, where it could be a variety of things that make that term pop. And so, an example would be, it could be that there was a song that was released called “No Fees” that is now all the sudden popular. Pop cultural is like the music; the song would be an example of that. It could be a fleeting thing. It may not sustain.
Trovato: I’d love to read the lyrics of the “No Fee” song, Casey. I think that’d be real fun.
Fictum: It probably exists, you just … [crosstalk/laughing]
Trovato: [crosstalk/laughing] … a really fun song.
Taniguchi: So to build on Casey’s point, when we dug into those “no fee” Google searches further, things like “debit cards with no fees,” “prepaid cards with no fees,” “banks with no fees.” So, I think with that, it starts to become clear that it is a financially driven search.
Taniguichi: So since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen, also, a lot of interest in free stock-trading platforms disrupting the market, like Robinhood and M1 Finance. And so some of the more legacy platforms that have been around for a while, like Charles Schwab, have had to follow suit because some of these more up-and-coming companies are stepping in to meet the more demanding consumer base that they’re facing.
Trovato: And I think driven by a lot of these market disruptors, consumers are now, in addition to things like “no fees,” they’re also just expecting more transparency around how companies make their money. Apart from the “no fee” searches, we’ve also seen these types of increased demand for transparency across the finance space. Particularly, we’ve seen examples in the investment management space and the insurance space and others.
Wells: There’re so many brands out there for consumers to choose from. And so, when we think about it, specifically in the finance space, I think “no fees” just really rings a bell and really resonates with consumers.
Wells: But I think it also dovetails us nicely into our last data point, which is that …
Wells: … we’ve seen Google searches for “buy now pay later apps” up over 200% globally year over year. So it’ll be curious to see how this kind of stacks up against some of the more traditional payment options.
Trovato: So for me, this one’s all about the growth of immediate versus delayed gratification. Search is up 200% year on year. It’s easy to dismiss that as growing, but that is big and growing, and it’s already growing off a very huge number.
Trovato: I think it’s interesting that demand for this type of payment has grown so much year on year. You know, I used to work with a U.K. fast-fashion e-commerce player, and they partnered with a company called Klarna to incorporate buy now, pay later options into their site, and immediately saw their average basket size increase significantly.
Taniguchi: That’s really interesting, Dan. I think that could be a little bit of a double-edged sword for retailers as well. I remember hearing about retailers in Germany, for example, seeing both basket sizes increase, but also returns increase and that, therefore, increases their cost of business as well.
Trovato: It’s interesting, you mentioned the German market, and I thought it’d be interesting to note that a lot of the top examples that we’re seeing from this come from outside the U.S. So we see U.K., Australia, and India, all where this is on the rise.
Fictum: And when we see trends like this that, again, not only have momentum, but this is, for me, lights start to go off a little bit, especially as someone who straddles the design and the marketing world. It becomes a responsibility sometimes to consider some of the negative sides of this. There are different ways to think about this trend rather than just, say, put a button out there to drive to conversion of buy now, pay later.
Wells: So I wonder, to your point, Casey, if there is some unique positioning there that these disruptor brands can leverage to be able to kind of take a sense of corporate responsibility to make sure that people are using their services as responsibly as they can. But also maybe there’s a sense of obligation there for them to commit to some type of messaging that talks to consumers about debt accumulation and how that they can kind of rally against that among all these other perks that consumers seemingly feel are kind of risk-free, keeping that in the back of their minds as well.
Fictum: Yeah, and something I didn’t think about until you just mentioned [it], the concept of giving that as an option isn’t necessarily new. It’s been around, right? But, what it definitely isn’t is an expectation yet of the user. So I think of something like free shipping — that’s a great example of something that now is just sort of expected.
Fictum: So I think we should keep an eye on it, because if it becomes an expectation of users, you could also flip it and say like, well, this gives a lot of people the opportunity to buy and pay over time, which then makes it a little more accessible to more people, but should probably be thought of very differently from a design perspective.
Wells: Yeah, definitely. Well, I know we’re knee deep in conversation, but we’re at time. Thank you so much. I just wanted to extend my thanks for you guys being here and taking the time to join us on the Insights Jam. So we will see you soon. Thanks for tuning in.
Everyone: [crosstalk] Thanks, Ashley! So long! See you!
Wells: Thanks for joining our Insights Jam. Don’t forget to subscribe to get all your great Think with Google YouTube content. Until next time, you keep searching, and we’ll keep exploring what it all means. See you.