Latest Search Data Reveals Four Key Consumer Interests in Post-Vaccine Era

With more than 9.23 billion vaccine shots given worldwide to date, we are easing our way back into travel, concerts, and family gatherings. Yet, with the recent highly transmissible Omicron variant spreading worldwide, we realize the end is not as near as we had anticipated.

Since the first COVID-19 outbreak in November 2019, so much has changed. We have learned to adjust to frequent changes dictated by the progress of the pandemic and the restrictions it has brought on. Remote work and even remote education, for example, may remain a permanent part of our landscape.

Search Data Provides Real-Time Insights

Perion’s (NASDAQ: PERI) Search technology Division, CodeFuel, has put together a visual representation of the post-vaccine world, based on millions of daily search queries over the last 180 days. The data yields valuable insights into what is currently going on in the minds of consumers, as well as valuable clues to their current and future spending.

eCommerce still rising

One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was not having to worry about dressing up every morning. But as more and more workplaces have begun to return to office, consumers started thinking about how to revamp their wardrobes, as evidenced by a 27% rise in searches in topics related to Style and Fashion.

The Home & Garden category search data reveals a 21% increase in queries between August and November, underscoring how people have been focused on their closest surroundings. This data is further echoed by recent market research estimating that the home and garden products B2C e-Commerce market is poised to grow by USD 25.88 billion during 2021-2025.

Doubling Down on Work From Anywhere

COVID-19 has made remote work more common, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2021, 13.4% of employed persons in the U.S. teleworked because of the pandemic. As we shift from work from home to a hybrid work from anywhere mode, searches for messaging and video conference apps have increased 26%, while search queries for VPN have increased dramatically, up 61%.

While many organizations have set target dates for early 2022 to get back to the office, these dates are likely to shift due to the fast spread of the Omicron variant. Search data shows that some of the top keywords and phrases searched in late November and December were: ‘omicron’, ‘new covid variant’, and ‘omicron symptoms’.

Getting Out and About

Most of 2020 and early 2021 obviously showed a significant decrease in searches related to flights and travel; the subject is back to top of mind, but in a different way. The ongoing pandemic in many areas of the world, and the Delta variant, have changed the types of activities people search for.

In the US, the summer months have seen a significant increase in search queries for campervans, and camping, which has decreased again by 53% as the weather changes. Searches for U.S. national parks as well as theme parks in Florida and California have increased by 63%, indicating that people may feel more secure to travel locally with kids and travel in the open air. This trend is likely to continue in 2022, especially considering the frequent changes in travel policies, required vaccination documentation, and additional restrictions.

Searches Linked To Omicron and Vaccination Rates

For a few short months, as more and more people got vaccinated, the data indicated that news was no longer top of mind compared to the previous year. However, two issues have been increasing concerns among searchers, as reflected in the data:

Globally: Searches for the Omicron variant and its symptoms have spikes starting November 26, 2021.

In under-vaccinated states in the US: the data shows that there is still a significant volume of searches around COVID-19 and vaccinations.

What to expect from early 2022?

The holiday shopping season of 2021 was different compared to previous years. Based on search data, consumers have started searching for deals earlier than usual this year. Searches reflect growth in many categories, including a steady increase in the careers sector, in technology gadgets and solutions, and, of course, searches by shoppers seeking the best gift deals.

As the Omicron wave looms over the start of the new year, in Q1 of 2022, we expect to see continued growth in eCommerce categories and consumer electronics searches. As opposed to these, the travel sector, which has already increased in demand as reflected in the volume of searches, is likely to suffer yet another decline. According to Reuters, Omicron-related disruptions have led to over 4,000 flight cancellations on January 2, 2022.

It is tough to predict consumer habits even in the best of times. But amid all these changes, search data trends point to some of the basic facets of human nature that marketers can depend on when planning the next marketing campaigns.

Latest Search Data Reveals Four Key Consumer Interests in Post-Vaccine Era - infographic

Written by Sharona Meushar, Head of Marketing, CodeFuel.

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