We’ve seen such vast and unprecedented changes during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. It has changed many things from the ways in which we interact to our shopping habits.
So how has it changed the ways in which we shop? More specifically, what have been the rising retail trends during Covid-19?
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Google Search Covid-19 Retail Trends
Google has been starting to publish data on search traffic fluctuations resulting from the coronavirus (Covid-19). Google has been fast-developing resources in an effort to help small business and those effected by Covid-19, as well as trying to connect people with information on the virus itself, as well as testing centres and local news updates.
One good resource for Coronavirus news in your country is from the Google Trends site:
This can help you keep tabs on the most popular searches happening in your country in relation to Covid-19. It shows you the most popular questions people have been asking as well as the information that people are looking for.
UK Covid-19 Retail Trends
If you continue to browse Google’s resources, you will most likely also come across a page which displays data about the changes in consumer interest during Covid-19.
If not, you can find this page for the UK here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/category-trends/uk/year/en
You can select the data for your country and you can also select the date range for comparison. For example you can look at Month on Month, or you can look at Year on Year. If you so wish, you can also drill the data down to look at weekly fluctuations.
So what are the UK’s rising retail categories during Covid-19 and why might this be?
Top 3 Rising Retail Categories
Searches for patio heaters are soaring, surprisingly even more so that both hand sanitisers and protective masks. This can only be explained by the change in weather here in the UK and northern hemisphere. As the weather is getting colder, it’s no longer as inviting to spend a socially distanced night out in a beer garden, or at a table in the street at the front of a restaurant.
In order to survive during the winter months after a tough and hard-hitting lockdown, it looks as if hospitality businesses are turning towards patio heaters to help keep their outside seating areas warm.
Hand Sanitisers & Wipes
We don’t have to explain this one too much, it’s quite obvious why hand sanitisers and wipes have sky rocketed in search volume trends. People are looking for a variety of ways to keep their hands clean and follow strict hygeine standards.
The searches for protective masks have soared, especially since the mask mandates have been introduced in the UK. Before the mandates, there had been an increase in protective mask searches but not by as much as it stands now.
We’re also seeing more and more types of masks entering the market, from surgical and medical masks, to cloth masks and even branded masks with different designs.
Top 10 Covid-19 Retail Categories
Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages
We can only assume that this one comes from the increase in alcohol sales just before and during the UK’s lockdown. However, it could also be said that we’ve seen a change in the drinks industry over the summer months as people are looking for new and exciting flavours.
Just like face masks, neck gaiter searches have also increased as people look for alternative face covering options. It could also be considered that people are also looking for a warmer face covering option as the winter approaches. We can expect this one to keep on increasing in searches.
Searches for disposable gloves have also shot up. This one is an obvious one too as more people seek more rigorous standards of hygiene in their day-to-day life.
Coming in on top in the fitness category is free weights. Searches have increased by a whopping 300%. Searches and demand increased so much there was actually a bit of a stock shortage for gym equipment in the UK in 2020.
Prepared Appetisers & Side Dishes
One of the more unusual retail categories to see an increase, however, along with meal deliveries and subscriptions, this category has seen a spike in searches. Quite strange when you would think that during lockdown, people may be relishing the chance to do a bit of cooking in the kitchen.
Ear Picks & Spoons
This one is a little bit more related to the fact that plastic cotton buds have banned in the UK. This decision was made by the UK government in an effort to help reduce single use plastics.
Therefore, people have been looks at alternative methods for….well….cleaning their ears.
Rising Covid-19 Retail Categories
We don’t have to dig too deep to find the main reasons for this one. Webcam searches have increased for one main reason. Remote working. Thousands of workers have been adapting to working from home which saw the increase in use of video conferencing software like Zoom.
You can’t have a video call with your team without a webcam now can you? So sales and searches in webcams have gone through the roof!
Many people are avoiding having anyone that they do not have to in their home. Therefore professional services, such as cleaning are having a bit of a tricky time with people opting away from professional upholstery cleaning, to more temporary solutions.
Candle Making Kits
Candle making kits have increased dramatically. This is an unusual one and quite tough to work out. We can only think that a lot fo people are looking for a new past-time or hobby.
Vehicle Waxes & Polishes
During lockdown and furlough it seems as if a lot of people got outside to put some much needed TLC into their motor vehicles.
Soap & Lotion Dispensers
Those plastic bottles that your soap comes in are not the most attractive now are they!? So it’s no surprise that people have been looking for more elegant designs of soap and lotion dispensers.
More Covid-19 Retail Trends
Not a very nice thing to consider but, as the dentists have been shut, it seems more people have been opting for a bit of DIY dentistry (OUCH!).
Solvents/Strippers & Thinners
During lockdown and furlough, it was a perfect time for a DIY project that you had been putting off… Lots of DIY products have seen a spike in searches including paint strippers & thinners.
Badge & Pass Holders
Badge as pass holders and types of lanyards have also increased by a huge amount compared to last year.
Perhaps this could be down to the amount of people printing off exemption badges or badges for health care volunteers.
Beer Dispensers & Taps
Interesting! Paddleboards are one of those activities that allow you to go solo and maintain your distance. Understandable why this one has increased in searches.
Motorcycles & Scooters
Another method of solo travel & transport.
Another one in the fitness and gym equipment industry. It seems as if lots of people have been getting their reps in.
Aha! So people have been experimenting in the kitchen…or they are just getting the equipment ready in time for this years Great British Bake-Off.
I guess there is no other place as solitary as the ocean!? Perhaps this explains why there has been an increase in interest in motorboats.
And another one in the fitness category. People have been taking their exercise indoors and at home, not so good news for Gyms but great news for treadmill producers!
What does this mean for SEO?
SEO for retail
If you are in one of the trending retail categories then great news! There is a whole heap of new traffic coming your way! If you’re setup and optimised correctly on the SEO side.
When there are huge influxes in traffic in any given industry it’s great news, there’s lots of opportunity for new visitors and sales. However, it means that sometimes the competition can get more fierce. It can also increase as other businesses see the opportunities in your market.
Therefore, you need to make sure that your SEO is in ship-shape. For example, you may be missing out on some key traffic if there is a slight mistake on the technical SEO side of your site. Perhaps something simple as a missing H1 or title tag could be stopping you from achieving some top rankings.
On the other hand, you may be finding yourself in a difficult time. This calls for a slightly different approach. Although it may not seem like it, the non-trending retail categories and businesses need to become as pro-active as possible during this “down-time”. It could be a good idea to have a discussion with a SEO consultant or SEO agency about what you could be doing to improve your visibility.
What does this mean for PPC?
Covid-19 & PPC
The effects of Covid-19 on PPC and Google ads have been slightly different. Google has been heavily regulating lots of search terms and keywords in their updating policy. This means that certain retail categories have been getting a lot of their ads disapproved or they have been fighting with appeals in their Google Ads accounts.
Google’s idea was to use their policy changes to stop opportunists from starting new businesses to capitalise on the coronavirus crisis. However, one of the results of this has been the fact that current businesses and advertisers have found it more difficult to get their ads approved and navigate Google’s new policies.