Spring shopping came early — 4 home and garden trends we’re watching, and why

Barry Zuidgeest, Swathi Meenakshi Sadagopan / March 2021

It may still be winter, but online Canadian consumers are already thinking about spring. New search trends show that we’ve already entered the earliest and most digital spring shopping season on record.

Home improvement and garden trends we saw last year are back but have started even earlier, as people prepare for another year at home. They’re still looking for ways to improve their living and outdoor space but are now wise to things like product availability, delivery windows and supply chain issues. Many outdoor home categories that used to peak in spring, like paint, home decor, or appliances, have surged and have not dropped since.

Here are four spring trends we’re watching and tips for how to reach shoppers right now.

Offline categories have gone online

With online shopping now the “new normal,” we’re seeing continued growth in search interest for home and garden products that are traditionally bought in-store. For example, search interest for “buy seeds online” shot up by 8X last spring and has continued to grow this year.1 Search interest for “order paint online” has also grown by 5X compared to last January,2 as has search interest for “lumber.”3

Make sure your entire assortment of products is discoverable on your website and on Google, not just the ones you’re used to selling through those channels, and make sure they’re shoppable. Use high-quality photos, videos, bundles and immersive experiences to help curate an online experience that resembles the in-store one. Since last year, you can now also have your products show up on the Shopping tab on Google through our “Free Listings.”

Shoppers are fuelling new hobbies and passions

With 87% of Canadians not planning on travelling until the pandemic is over,4 people are looking for ways to relax and have fun in their own outdoor spaces. We’re seeing people fuelling new hobbies and passions, including all things cooking and gardening. For example, search interest is growing for “pizza oven”5 and “bird feeders.”6

Keep an eye on trending hobbies in Google Trends and YouTube Trends, and highlight related products that pair well with outdoor fun. And don’t forget to update your creative and ad copy to highlight popular trends and passions.

People are looking for projects, not just products

Spring shoppers aren’t just looking for products — they’re planning bigger, longer renovation projects. Search interest for “kitchen renovations” and “backyard ideas” are each up by 5X compared to last February.7 On YouTube, search interest is growing for “decor,”8 indicating a desire for consumers to revamp their spaces.

Illustrated icon represents Search interest for “kitchen renovations” and “backyard ideas” are each up by 5X compared to last February.

Make sure your products are showing up in the research phase, when they are looking for inspiration including DIY tutorials and reviews. As well, find ways to showcase ways your products could fit into larger renovations and projects.

Shoppers are turning to product video tutorials for help

People are turning to video tutorials and “unboxing” videos for guidance and inspiration. Search interest for “how to” content is 2X higher than what we saw in February last year.9

Take advantage of this new search behaviour by offering more immersive online experiences through before-and-after photos and videos, “unboxing” videos and tutorials, and shoppable live YouTube experiences.

With people planning their spring and summer projects earlier than before, marketers need to think ahead and make sure they’re showing up now, and be ready for the new demand.

Which consumer trends will stick? The 2008 financial crisis might have the answers