What a year. As 2020 comes to a close, and the US is seeing an alarming resurgence in COVID cases nationwide, we are seeing that some behaviors may be sticking around longer than previously anticipated. As we look towards recent search trends, here are the ones that remain top of mind:
Travel This Holiday & The Preference for the Road
Heading into the holiday season, many consumers are eager to get home for the holiday or to get away. 2 in 5 Americans were planning to take a trip that involved an overnight stay this holiday season (40%), including 10% who had already booked a trip in November and 30% who said that they were very/somewhat likely to do so soon. Early reports from the TSA are showing that nearly 2 million people passed through airports this past Friday & Saturday, despite a record number of new cases and CDC recommendations not to travel. For many though, driving to their destinations remains the preferred option. 76% of consumers willing to travel this year indicated earlier this fall that traveling by personal car is their first choice (76%), followed by rental car (29%). We see this reflected still in recent search behavior- searches for “along my route” have grown by over 1,000% YoY, and searches for “gas station near me now” have grown by over 80% YoY. Even searches for “electric vehicle charging” have grown over 300% YoY (top searches include “electric vehicle charging points”).
Meet Me Outdoors
Whether in a new destination, or staying local, consumers continue to be seeking socially distant outdoor options for socializing and entertaining. Searches for “near me with outdoor seating” have grown by over 900% YoY, and searches for “patio heater” have grown by over 600% YoY (top searches include: “pyramid patio heater”, “Infrared patio heater”, and “table top patio heater”). We even see that searches for “best outdoor” have grown by over 100% YoY, which includes searches for “best outdoor tv”, “best outdoor camera”, best “outdoor solar lights”, and “best outdoor basketball shoes”, highlighting the importance that outdoor options and availability will continue to play in the coming months.
Families have seen their fair share of difficulties during this past year, and parents are seeking ways to keep their families safe and together. Searches for “masks for kids” have grown over 600% YoY, indicating that safety and caution are still priorities. Entertainment searches are also on the rise, as searches for “family movies on___” and “jigsaw puzzles” have grown by over 100% YoY respectively. As school openings and distance learning continue to find the right balance, searches for “___ of the day for kids” has grown by over 100% as well (top searches include: “riddle of the day for kids”, “thought of the day for kids with meaning”)
The trends that have emerged this past year will continue to evolve, as regions continue grappling with the resurgence in COVID cases nationwide, impacting when and how consumers travel. For marketers, continue to stay on top of consumer demand, and understand the new needs and priorities of consumers. Whether for the road, the outdoors, or for families, find the best ways to accommodate for them and identify ways to pivot. Consumers willing to travel during this time have demonstrated both caution and agility. Make sure you meet and support them where they are at this moment.