During the COVID-19 lockdowns consumer behavior has changed dramatically. Needs-driven spending has largely replaced discretionary spending; online shopping — sometimes with curbside pickup — has supplanted in-store buying. And all this may soon change again, as local economies and retailers “open up.”
Offering insight into consumer demand. In the current crisis, product search is an area that is dynamic and rapidly evolving, according to Google. So the company is introducing what it’s calling Rising Retail Categories, within the ThinkWithGoogle domain. Google said, in a blog post announcing the new tool, “we’ve heard from our retail and brand manufacturing partners that they are hungry for more insights on how consumer interests are changing, given dynamic fluctuations in consumer demand.”
Fast-growing categories and queries. Quite similar to Google Trends, Rising Retail Categories exposes “fast-growing, product-related categories,” their associated queries and the geographic areas where product categories are trending the most. Google adds, “This is the first time we have provided this type of insight on the product categories that people are searching for.”
Data is available for the US, UK and Australia. A drop-down menu allows users to see top-trending products and queries by week, month or year. Google says the data will be updated daily.
In its blog post, Google offered several use cases for the data, including content creation, promotion and product development. Certainly the data is interesting but it’s limited, notwithstanding Google’s statement about it being presented for the first time.
Why we care. Rising Retail Categories is now one of a number of search-data-driven tools and resources available on ThinkWithGoogle. Microsoft is publishing search trends by vertical during COVID-19. There are also multiple SaaS and martech companies that have visibility into e-commerce trends and shopping queries. However, they generally don’t offer free research to the public.
There are also keyword research tools that can generate helpful data on product search queries, though they don’t offer this type of information. So while the product-trend data you can get from from Google’s Rising Retail Categories appears relatively modest it’s still interesting and potentially helpful to selected brand marketers and small businesses.