Lucy Sinclair is the EMEA director of the insights team at Google, where she and her team analyse changes in consumer behaviour. In this regular feature, she’ll be highlighting what is on people’s minds during this unprecedented time.
27 April 2020 edition
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt by everyone around the world. As the world adapts, consumer needs and behaviours are constantly changing — and this poses new challenges to marketers. We’ll be 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 to explore changing search interests yourself for more instant analysis.
In recent weeks the trends we highlighted showed us that people are adjusting to their newfound situation and behaviours are starting to become more consistent. So rather than continuing our focus on immediate needs, a new day-to-day, and emerging trends, we’ll be exploring the bigger picture — the macro shifts in consumer behaviour — to understand what the long-term impact might be in the post-lockdown world.
These search trends will cover five key themes:
- What people know: Seeking timely and accurate information from trusted sources
- How people make a living: Changes to work and finances
- How people feel: Wellbeing, connection, and community
- How people learn: Formal and informal education for children and adults
- What people do: Spending time and money in new ways
The Google Trends insights highlighted in this edition show a continued search interest for staying up-to-date with the latest (government) rules and regulations, access to financial aid, and finding the right platforms to help with online education. Consumers are also searching for new ways to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy, and to stay busy at home. And, while big sports events may be on hold during this time, search data shows that football fans in particular are turning to YouTube to rewatch old matches to reignite their love for the game.
1. What people know: Users are staying up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 rules
Google Trends showed that in the past week consumers had a continued interest in staying up-to-date with the latest (government) rules and regulations in their country. For example, search interest increased for ‘what is allowed’ ('was ist erlaubt') in Germany, ‘curfew on’ (‘حظر التجوال في') in Egypt, and ‘curfew permit’ ('izin belgesi') in Turkey.
People were also getting optimistic about life returning back to normal, with increased searches for potential reopening dates for schools and non-essential services, such as ‘when will _____ reopen’ ('when will _____ reopen', referring to ‘hairdressers’ and ‘schools’) in the U.K., ‘reopening car dealers’ (‘riapertura concessionari auto’) in Italy, and ‘back to school’ ('do szkoly') in Poland.
To help get access to this information, there was an increase in search interest for ‘customer representative’ ('müşteri temsilcisi') in Turkey, and ‘contact centre’ ('contact center') in South Africa.
2. How people make a living: Consumers are looking for financial security
The coronavirus pandemic has had a financial impact on many people and businesses with changes to jobs and incomes. And, understandably, Google Trends showed that financial security remained top of mind for consumers as they continued to look for help with unemployment benefits and loan payment options.
In the past week, we saw increased search interest for ‘unemployment benefit’ ('prestación por desempleo') in Spain, ‘furlough claim’ ('furlough claim') in the U.K., ‘unemployment grant’ ('unemployment grant') in South Africa, ‘job centre’ ('urząd pracy') in Poland, ‘afterpay loan application’ ('sonra ödemeli kredi başvurusu') in Turkey, ‘tax deduction’ ('ניכוי מ') in Israel, and ‘bank time’ ('bank time') in the United Arab Emirates.
3. How people feel: Users are searching for how to stay physically and mentally healthy
The impact of COVID-19 has not only been felt financially, but physically as well without access to gym facilities and people cooking and baking up a storm at home. Google Trends has shown that consumers are searching for new ways to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy.
Search interest has increased for ‘high intensity’ ('alta intensidad' ) in Spain, ‘women’s bike’ ('rower damski') and ‘intermittent diet’ ('post przerywany') in Poland, ‘losing weight’ ('kilo verilir') in Turkey, superfood ‘acai puree’ (‘acai puree’) in the United Arab Emirates, ‘vitamin D’ ('vitamin d’) in the U.K., ‘mental hygiene’ ('higiene mental') in Spain, and ‘mental health’ ('בריאות הנפש') in Israel.
4. How people learn: Educational tools and platforms are highly searched
As people across EMEA continue to homeschool their children — and upskill their own knowledge — they’re turning to search to find the tools and platforms that can support them with their needs.
Google Trends shows increased search interest for online learning platforms 'korki tv' in Poland and 'smartschool' in Belgium, ‘distance learning’ ('למידה מרחוק') in Israel, ‘math tutor’ ('math tutor') in the U.K., ‘home schooling’ (home schooling) in Germany, and for ‘online exam’ ('online sınav') and ‘software training’ ('yazılım eğitimi') in Turkey.
Consumers are also exploring learning new things, and they are watching online video content for practical advice and tutorials. In the past week searches on YouTube were up for ‘how to’ ('how to') in Kenya and ‘how to create’ ('how to create') in Nigeria.
5. What people do: Buying behaviour and recreational searches have changed
Consumers have found new ways to keep busy at home and in their outdoor spaces, and to have access to everything they need during this time. Google Trends shows buying behaviour has changed with increased searches for ‘online shopping’ ('online shopping') in Kenya, ‘outdoor furniture’ ('utemöbler rusta') in Sweden, and ‘laptops for sale’ ('laptops for sale') in South Africa.
Despite the lockdown, many countries allow people to take a short daily walk for fresh air and exercise. To help with this, consumers are exploring the right equipment and suitable locations near their home with ‘walks near me’ ('walks near me') increasingly being searched in the U.K. and ‘for running’ (‘do biegania’) in Poland.
To keep busy, people are increasingly playing games such as ‘bingo’ (‘bingo’) in Denmark and ‘old-fashioned Dutch games’ (‘oud hollandse spelletjes’) in the Netherlands. Google Trends also show an increased interest in watching online sports — even if no new matches are happening right now — and entertainment. In France we saw increased searches for the ‘1982 French Cup’ football match (‘de france 1982’) and in Germany for ‘Germany vs Argentina’ ('deutschland argentien'). People also searched en masse for ‘one world together' — a virtual concert to support healthcare workers — in Germany, the U.K, Italy, Spain, and South Africa.
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 yourself. By entering a keyword or a topic into the tool, you can explore what the world is searching for in near real time.