Search insights to help you understand consumer needs in uncertain times – 22 June 2020 edition

Lucy Sinclair / June 2020 / Research & Data

Lucy Sinclair is the EMEA director of the insights team at Google, where she and her team analyse changes in consumer behaviour. In this regularly updated article she’ll be highlighting what is on people’s minds during this unprecedented time.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by everyone around the world. And as consumer needs and behaviours have changed, this poses new challenges to marketers. We’re regularly sharing the latest EMEA search insights from Google Trends to help you understand what is important to your customers, so you can continue to be helpful and relevant during this unprecedented time. You can also use Google Trends yourself to explore changing search interests to view a more instant analysis.

As people are adjusting to the current situation and trends are starting to become more consistent, we are focusing our analyses on the macro shifts in consumer behaviour — to understand what the long-term impact might be in a post-lockdown world.

The five key themes we cover within these are:

  1. How people feel: Wellbeing, connection, and community
  2. What people know: Seeking timely and accurate information from trusted sources
  3. How people make a living: Changes to work and finances
  4. How people learn: Formal and informal education for children and adults
  5. What people do: Spending time and money in new ways
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While we started these regular Google Trends analyses several months ago to identify the changing consumer behaviours due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, it has been a helpful tool to also highlight other topics that are front of mind for people at any given time.

This week’s ‘how people feel’ section shows the increase in search interest for the Black Lives Matter movement. Many people in EMEA, and across the world, are using Google Search to learn, donate, and take action against the structural inequalities that drive socio-economic deprivation.

COVID-19 has amplified frustration and anger as people question how their society can work better for everyone. How can brands help? Whilst the long-term political and social implications are uncertain in this new pandemic reality, people want to see brands do the right thing and take action now, through equality in hiring and pay, investing in underserved communities, fighting racial injustice, and more.

1. How people feel: People want to learn, donate, and take action to aid Black Lives Matter

As mentioned above, searches related to the Black Lives Matter movement increased across EMEA in recent weeks. Google Trends shows a particular rise in interest related to learning, donating, and taking action ⁠— in a safe way, as the risk of COVID-19 is front of mind for many people that are exploring ways to join protests.

Searches were on the rise for ‘how to protest safely’ ('how to protest safely') across the world, ‘what is Black Lives Matter’ ('black lives matter significado') and ‘Juneteenth’ ('juneteenth') in Spain, ‘Black Lives Matter translation’ ('traduction black lives matter') in France, ‘black lives’ ('black lives') in Kenya, ‘Black Lives Matter donate’ ('black lives matter donate' ) and ‘ways to help’ ('ways to help') in the U.K., ‘anti racism’ ('anti racism') in the Netherlands, and ‘against racism’ ('gegen rassismus') in Germany.

protest

2. What people know: Shopping behaviour changes with consumers searching ‘nearby’ and ‘near me’

In our last edition we highlighted that with lockdown measures easing across EMEA, searches were shiftingfrom 'what is open' to 'open near me'. And this is a trend that has prevailed in the last few weeks, as more and more consumers are looking to shop locally by using search terms such as ‘nearby’ or ‘near me’.

For example, Google Trends shows increased search interest for post office, gas refill, printing shops, and more ‘near me’ ('near me') in South Africa, carpet, fabric, tile, etc. ‘shops near me’ ('shops near me') in the U.K., ‘nearby’ ('nelle vicinanze') restaurants, pizzarias, and more in Italy, car ‘dealer nearby’ ('händler in der nähe') in Germany, and ‘nearby’ (à proximité) restaurants, cafes, cinemas, etc. in France.

3. How people make a living: Google Trends shows job-related searches are still increasing

Since the start of our search trends analyses several months ago, job insecurity, resumes, and applications have been front of mind for people due to businesses closures and furloughs. This is a trend that is unlikely to disappear any time soon, as the long-term effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have taken their toll on many jobs. And analysis of the last month’s searches has shown thatjob-related ones continue to steadily increase across the globe. With many secondary school and university students entering the job market during the holidays, people are particularly looking to update their resumes and find summer employment opportunities.

Google Trends shows a rise in searches for ‘student resume’ ('CV étudiant') in Belgium, ‘resume template’ in Saudi Arabia ('نماذج سيرة ذاتية') and Italy ('modello curriculum'), ‘summer job’ ('job été') in France, ‘minimal wage’ (‘płaca minimalna’) in Poland, ‘job vacancy in’ ('job vacancy in') Lagos, Nigeria, etc. in Nigeria, and ‘expatriates jobs’ ('expatriates jobs') in Saudi Arabia.

french graph

4. How people learn: Searches increase for ‘ideas’ and ‘DIY’ as consumers look for inspiration

Consumers turn increasingly towards online resources such as Google Search and YouTube for inspiration and learning new skills, and we can see a particular worldwide incline in searches containing 'ideas' or 'DIY'. From do-it-yourself picnic food to gifting tips for special occasions such as birthdays and Father’s Day, which many countries celebrated earlier this month, people are looking for creative and fun ways to jazz things up.

In recent weeks we saw an increasing search interest on Google Trends for ‘ideas for’ ('ideas for') gifts for men, bedroom decor, etc. in the United Arab Emirates, ‘gift ideas’ ('hediye fikirleri') in Turkey, ‘DIY birthday’ ('compleanno fai da te') cards, decorations, and more in Italy, ‘easy DIY’ ('bricolage facile') in France, ‘bedroom ideas’ ('bedroom ideas') in the U.K., and ‘food ideas’ ('food ideas') for an outdoor or indoor picnic in South Africa.

5. What people do: Travel, home and garden, and electronics categories see rise in searches

Earlier this month, Google Trends showed us that search interest had started to recover in hard-hit verticals, and this is a trend that has continued to grow in recent weeks. Not only does travel continue to recover, but categories such ashome and garden andelectronics have also seen search interest steadily increase across EMEA.

While there are ongoing international travel restrictions in some countries and consumers are encouraged to refrain from non-essential long-haul travel, that does not deter excited holiday-goers from starting to research their best, more local options. Search interest has been on the rise for ‘rent a cabin’ ('hyra stuga') in Sweden, ‘holiday cottages’ ('domki letniskowe') in Poland, ‘holiday renting’ ('location vacances') in France’, ‘rural houses with a pool’ ('rurales con piscina') in Spain,‘safari park’ ('safari park') in the U.K., ‘flight ticket’ ('uçak bileti') in Turkey, and ‘holiday bonus’ ('bonus vacanze') in Italy.

Spain graph

And, as consumers are continuing to look into ways to upgrade their homes and outdoors spaces, they’ve been increasingly searching for ‘wood stove’ ('poele a bois') and ‘home cinema’ ('home cinéma') in France, ‘cooling pillows’ ('kühlende kissen') and ‘4K monitor’ ('4k monitor') in Germany, ‘robot vacuum cleaner’ ('robot aspirapolvere') in Italy, ‘pc gaming’ ('pc gaming') and ‘leather sofa’ ('leather sofa') in the U.K., ‘HD Smart LED TV’ ('hd smart led tv') in Turkey, and ‘screen prices’ ('اسعار شاشات') in Egypt.

Explore more consumer search behaviour trends

You can view all our recent trends analyses in our search insights collection. While we provide a regularly updated snapshot of consumer behaviour changes and trends across EMEA, we understand it may be helpful to review the information more frequently, or for a specific country or region. To explore further insights, here are 10 tips for using Google Trends. By entering a keyword or a topic into the tool, you can explore what the world is searching for in near real time.

Resources and insights to help you navigate uncertain times