Ben Morgan of Pricesearcher explores consumer search trends from the top 50 searches in March and April. Here’s what you need to know… 

With the continued integration of technology into the everyday shopping experience, it has never been easier for the retail industry to analyse customer data in order to identify interesting trends, patterns and behaviours. With consumers making over a million searches per-month on Pricesearcher, we recently looked at the top 50 search terms during March and April on the site, and the results were very interesting.

Mobile remains on top

During the analysis period, over 50% of searches were conducted via mobile, with 22% taking place on a tablet. With 21% of consumers searching via desktop, this data reinforces the growing desire by consumers to obtain detailed information, particularly prices, reviews and stockists, whilst ‘on the move’. A recent report by Deloitte[1] revealed that almost 80% of global consumers have smartphones and more than 50% have tablets, with wearables growing in popularity at 10%, supporting the view that retailers should always be designing their communications with mobile viewing as the very first consideration.

Seasonal searching

It’s well known that the internet lends itself well to searches for electronics, home and garden products; typically higher value purchases that consumers are prepared to do their homework on and research thoroughly prior to making that final decision to buy. In fact, ‘lawnmowers’ was the most popular search term over March and April on Pricesearcher, with the garden category in general attracting over 30% of searches of the top 50 searches. It is clear that understanding which external factors and influencers affect consumer demand is critical to defining a reactive and flexible approach to boosting product visibility. Taking into account seasonal trends and even the weather clearly does have a profound effect on consumer behaviour.

Uncovering hidden categories

Our search data also uncovered some interesting markets which may not be as obvious and are certainly worth exploring further.

Pets is an increasingly popular category and accounted for 6% of the top 50 searches on Pricesearcher during March and April. Recent research shows this is a growing category, with online pet-related purchases taking up 10.9% of the total Pet Care market in 2016. In addition, the pet accessories market was estimated to be worth £643m in 2016 and is forecast to grow 14.8% over the next five years, making it the fastest growing category in the pet care sector.[2]

Gifting is another interesting sector to explore, as many products featuring in other categories are also appropriate as gifts. 4% of the top 50 searches in March and April on Pricesearcher were for gifts, fuelled by events such as Mother’s Day and Easter. With the UK’s gifting category reported to be worth £40bn annually[3], adapting search strategies to ensure products are visible as gifts is a sure way to boost sales throughout the year.

In summary, the search data provided a fascinating snapshot of the range of products and categories that gained the most exposure during March and April. In addition to the expected trends for home, garden and DIY that are commonly associated with the spring and summer months, the growing prevalence of sectors such as pets and gifting serves as a timely reminder to think outside of the box and ensure that products are visible to all potential sectors of the market, to ensure sales are maximised.

Top 50 search terms from March and April 2017 on Pricesearcher

1 Lawnmower Garden
2 Dog Kennels Pet
3 iPad Electronics
4 Mother’s Day Gifting
5 Digital Cameras Electronics
6 Pressure Washer Garden
7 PS4 Electronics
8 Dress Apparel
9 iPhone 7 Electronics
10 Samsung Electronics
11 Football Boots Sport
12 Lego Toys & Gaming
13 Apple Watch Electronics
14 Washing Machine Home
15 Microwave Home
16 BBQ Garden
17 Garden Tools Garden
18 Garden Sheds Garden
19 Moto G5 Plus Electronics
20 Peppa Pig Toys & Gaming
21 Paddling Pool Garden
22 Designer Wallpaper Home
23 Watches Electronics
24 Smart TV Electronics
25 Wall Clocks Home
26 Laptop Electronics
27 Drills Home
28 Superdry Apparel
29 Tracksuit Apparel
30 Clarks Footwear
31 Nintendo 3DS Electronics
32 Chainsaws Garden
33 Nerf Gun Toys & Gaming
34 Trainers Footwear
35 TY Beanie Toys & Gaming
36 Samsung Galaxy S5 Electronics
37 Football Shirts Sport
38 iPhone 6S Electronics
39 Fishing Tackle Sport
40 Micro SD Cards Electronics
41 Easter Egg Decoration Gifting
42 Suitcase Travel
43 BBQ Garden
44 My Little Pony Toys & Gaming
45 Huawei Mobile Phone Electronics
46 Baby Clothes Apparel
47 Overwatch Toys & Gaming
48 Ted Baker Apparel
49 Ladder Garden
50 FitBit Charge 2 Electronics

Ben Morgan is Head of Partnerships at Pricesearcher