Duncan - 27 November 2017 in Ecommerce

Ecommerce Trends for 2018

Entertainment Trends

For the last two quarters of the year (Q3 and Q4) it is understandable in the run up to Christmas that the entertainment industry features highly on the search engine agenda.
With most major games consoles being released in November and blockbusters being screened for the holiday season, as well as music albums trying to find their way to the number one spot before the end of the year, the entertainment industry finds itself in its element towards the end of Q4.

Black Friday is perhaps the most obvious point of reference for entertainment searches as games consoles, DVD’s and other entertainment hardware seeks to get a huge boost in sales on this most infamous of days. Often those in the entertainment business try and tempt customers throughout the week leading up to Black Friday, stretching out the potential interest for their products as much possible. This means searches for Black Friday deals tend to begin at least a week in advance to the week ending in Black Friday, even if some deals don’t begin until the day before or Black Friday itself.

However it is also important for the entertainment industry to keep up the hype of their products online throughout the whole of Q4 and not just in the run up to Black Friday and the Christmas period as searches on entertainment products remain constantly high all the way up to Christmas day, something that is true not just for Google but also YouTube as people search for trailers and reviews of various entertainment sources.

Apparel and Fashion

Apparel and fashion products form an integral part of the search engine criteria throughout the year, however it is towards the end of the year in the last quarterly (Q4) that searches for deals and fashion trends begin to spike as people get ready for the holiday season.

Although there is quite a lot of search engine activity around the end of October surrounding apparel and fashion, this is often a brief interlude heralded by Halloween and it is in the lead up to Black Friday that modern trends in search engine increases seem most prominent. This is partly due to some of the deals given away on Black Friday by clothes companies, however this spike of activity does not seem to falter afterwards suggesting people are constantly looking for clothing and fashion for themselves and as gifts right up until Christmas day.

It is important for clothing and fashion brands to take heed of this and not give into reducing their products before the end of the year, keeping their prices steady all the way through as interest remains constant. It is also worth noting that YouTube sees a large number of fashion and apparel related searches in advance of Q4 as people search for fashion trends and what is in season. This means it is also important for the apparel and fashion industry to begin targeting their consumers well in advance to Q4 via video media and keep the momentum going as video searches continue to spike in line with traditional searches throughout the quarterly.

Retailers

As the last quarterly of the year (Q4) approaches and gets under way, retailers know they are entering their golden period for sales. Anticipating Halloween and Christmas spending, most retailers often begin their Q4 campaigns way in advance, some even at the beginning of Q3!

Strangely though, the actual spike in searches does not correlate with retailers’ advertising campaigns as most consumers try to ignore the Christmas overdrive which seems to kick in earlier and earlier each year. Instead the searches for retailers begins to really spike towards Black Friday when one-off deals and bargains can be made on the day for those products which are ideal as gifts for Christmas.
However, unlike most of the products they sell, be they apparel or entertainment, the specific searches for retailers begin to drop almost immediately after Black Friday and trail off towards Christmas suggesting consumers are specifically looking for deal retailers are offering on certain products rather than what the retailers have to offer in general.
This unfortunately means that retailers have to be quite aggressive in their web content towards the build up to Black Friday and show what they have to offer whilst on YouTube interest decreases a huge amount on the day itself suggesting retailers need to get their video adverts out there way in advance of Black Friday.

Beauty

Following a similar trend to apparel and fashion, beauty products also feature large spikes of interest in the last quarterly of the year (Q4). Spikes in beauty related searches seem to occur during Halloween, which is hardly surprising, and these tend to correlate highly with searches on YouTube as people look for dressing up ideas and Halloween make-up.
Yet, as with apparel, the real spike hits the internet on Black Friday when deals on beauty products, some of them very expensive one, start popping up. Most of these deals are on the day itself and a large rush of searches on these deals often floods the search engine criteria. This trend in beauty searches, on both Google and YouTube, tends to stay high until Christmas day, as people look towards buying gifts and personal beauty products for the holiday season.

Business and Industrial

The last quarterly of the year (Q4) is a strange time of year for industry and non-retail businesses. Often determining on what it is they produce/sell, search engine interest stays pretty constant throughout Q3 before beginning to rise to quite high levels around October. This may be as consumers look towards replenishing/ getting new services/products provided by these industries before the year is out however around mid-November this trend dramatically drops as 2017 deals and contracts become redundant.
In contrast, YouTube searches remain strong and in fact spike towards December as consumers look towards the new year for new services and products produced by businesses and industries. This means that businesses and industries should perhaps put less of their budget into current pproducts and services towards the end of Q4 and instead direct this spending towards YouTube advertising in preparation for the new year.

Electronics

As one would expect, the last two quarterlies of the year (Q3 and Q4) are important times for electronics companies. No matter what they sell, these high end products are most sought after during the holiday season and this is clearly seen in the search engine data on these products.
Towards the end of Q3 and the beginning of Q4, search engine interest in electronic products gradually rises until mid-November when it experiences a massive spike. This spike then trails off just before Black Friday suggesting people are looking for the products and potential Black Friday deals well in advance to the day itself and using other retailers selling electronic products on Black Friday rather than directly from the electronic companies themselves.
This trend seems to hold true when one looks at the YouTube search data alongside the search engine data. Large spikes in video related content surrounding electronic products seem to feature during Q3 as consumers look at what is coming up for sale in Q4, a spike which is not repeated again until the end of the year. This end of year spike may be due to people looking at how their electronic gifts from Christmas work and taking a look at what is coming up in the year ahead.
This data means electronic companies should try and get as many video reviews and adverts up and running throughout Q3 for their current and impending released product, leading into a physical advertising campaign just before Black Friday. It is around this point that video content should start changing towards how-to use videos and sneak peaks at what new technology will be released in the new year.

Food

Being a necessity of life and increasingly available online, food retail enjoys quite a constant trend throughout the year, however it is towards the last quarterly (Q4) food really comes into its own and this is equally obvious in search engine trends.
As the steady build-up to Christmas begins, so too does the search engine trend in food related products and ideas as people begin to think about stocking up for winter and getting everything ready well in advance of Christmas, both in terms of food products and recipes.
This build up often spikes at the end of November as the penny drops that Christmas is upon us as consumers begin buying more and more for Christmas and New Year parties, the latter notably in advance as after Christmas there is a massive drop in online searches for food. This indicates people prepare when it comes to food and do not want to be dealing with last minute food orders over the new year period, a trend which fulfils itself as consumers find they don’t need any more food because they’ve already bought it all.
In terms of video searches on YouTube, the spikes in food related content always occur at points in Q4 when recipes are needed such as at Halloween and in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Also, unlike the search engine data, a massive spike in food related video searches occurs after Christmas as well as before, no doubt an indication people are looking for eat-up recipes and New Year party ideas.

Finance

When it comes to search engine trends, Finance seems to feature a pretty constant high throughout the year, however this is particularly the case within the third and fourth quarterlies (Q3 and Q4).
Yet, whilst search engine trends in finance stay strong for most of this period, there is a sudden drop around Black Friday and the Autumn Budget. This seems to suggest that people look at their finances well in advance of Christmas in preparation for the holiday period and means finance companies should aim to target their audiences around Q3 and Q4 before people let loose with Christmas spending after Black Friday.
YouTube results show an even earlier peak in Q3 suggesting people are looking at ways to handle their finances before taking action, a move we see later in the Google search peaks during this quarterly. This is further supported by the fact that when search engine results go up in finance, YouTube searches go down, especially towards the end of Q3.
Again this is evident after Christmas where search engine data on finance drops dramatically, but YouTube searches spike immensely as people look towards handling their finances after the bog holiday spend and into the year ahead. It is at these spike points for YouTube that finance companies should think about offering advice via video format, perhaps leading to the use of their services later as the YouTube spike drops and the Google spike increases.

Real Estate

Whilst experiencing a pretty constant high on search trends throughout the year and the beginning of the third quarterly (Q3), it is at the end of Q3 that real estate searches on Google begin to trail off, eventually leading to a massive decrease by the end of Q4. This trend is most likely due to the lack of interest in buying real estate at a time of year when people are looking to put money towards other interests and, of course, the holiday season.

However, there is a sudden increase in search engine trends surrounding real estate right after Christmas, a trend which is matched when compared with the YouTube data. In contrast the YouTube data seems to spike up and down throughout Q3, with a particular high around late October as pay packages are looking to be spent for the last time on something that isn’t Christmas related.

Yet, after a sudden drop off in November, YouTube spikes in real estate searches explode again mid -November before decreasing again. This indicates a research phase for the new year as the trend remains low throughout the holiday period but then spikes again along with the search engine data after Christmas as potential buyers actually start making moves on real estate purchasing.

In relation to this data it is perhaps more cost effective for real estate businesses to invest their budget more on video content during Q3 and the middle of Q4, leaving any actual selling strategies until the end of the year. It is then that other advertising and selling strategies should be boosted alongside more video content, encouraging potential buyers to look at real estate purchases in the new year.

Home and Garden

Whereas real estate seems to decline on search engine trends throughout the end of Q3 and Q4, it appears home and garden search trend increase, hitting a critical spike by Black Friday. This data shows that people are likely buying and moving into their houses before the end of the year but then adding their own personal touches to their properties afterwards. The Black Friday peak seems to relate to sales at home and garden centres, particularly for those looking to either buy last minute Christmas decorations or prepare for a DIY project in the New Year without having to manage that during the holiday period.
YouTube data on house and garden related searches seem to be up and down throughout Q3 and Q4 with some spikes around Halloween and just before Christmas, a trend which seems to correlate towards themed decoration rather than major renovations. Due to the autumn and winter months we can expect garden searches to be relatively low, however after Christmas there is a massive spike in both Google and YouTube searches as homeowners take a new look at their home and garden in the new year.
Although home and garden centres should indeed look towards inspiring their customers with seasonal advertising and videos, particularly during the Black Friday spike, it is this end of year spike which is perhaps the most vital to exploit and when they can make the most money from a sudden desire to renovate and redecorate as Q1 begins.

Jobs and Education

Search engine results for jobs and education have a very high, constant trend throughout the year and this is still the case when we look at Q3 and the beginning of Q4. However, as would be expected, this trend declines gradually after November before dropping off to a massive low around Christmas as people simply are not interested in immediately finding new jobs or education half way through the working/school year.
However, in direct contrast to the search engine data, YouTube searches begin to peak suddenly in October as people begin thinking about making a move before Q4, before dropping off and then spiking throughout the end of Q4. This data seems to suggest that, although people are not interested in finding a job ‘now’ during Q4, they are certainly thinking about it and maybe those at the end of any stage of education are either looking towards the next step, or in sixth form colleges and universities cases, a job.

Travel

Q3 and Q4 and not the best times of year when it comes to travel. Most people are either working or in education and, even though some people do go away for Christmas, the vast majority stay at home with the family. This trend is evident in the search engine data for travel throughout Q3 and Q4. Whilst there is a high around the beginning of Q3, this slowly deteriorates to a rock bottom low around Christmas as budgets are strained and people become more concerned about gifts and food than going on way for the holiday season.
This trend soon picks up again however after Christmas, a clear indication that it is the mass spending during the holiday which puts people off and this is matched by the YouTube trends for travel related searches which reach a massive peak as Q4 quickly turns into next year’s Q1. YouTube searches also enjoy a high level during Q3, a level which indicates last minute get-a-ways before the holiday season or perhaps thinking about next year’s holiday before the hustle and bustle of Q4 kicks in, a trend which is resumed after Christmas.
Looking at this data, travel companies should, and often do, focus in what they have to offer next year rather than during the winter months although it is worth noting that the Q3 spike on YouTube may provide an opportunity to offer some great winter deals to those still considering going away for Christmas.

Automotive

Traditionally it is during Q1 and Q2 that the automotive industry experiences its height of sales. This also seems to be the case during Q3 when search engine data is taken into account as the trend stays high, and in fact increases at the beginning of Q3, perhaps as people come back from holiday or look towards buying a new car before autumn.

This trend stays pretty high throughout Q3 and into Q4 however it is around mid-November that this trend begins to decline and trail off. With the expensive holiday season swiftly approaching and difficult winter weather conditions on the horizon it is understandable that people are less likely inclined to look at new car purchases.
Yet whilst Q4 may be a very unprofitable time of year for the automotive industry, it is on YouTube that the hype for cars remains. With massive spike around the beginning and end of Q3 as well as towards the end of Q4, automotive industries really need to target audiences with new and upcoming products as people at first look towards what they might get in the new year after the holiday season and then take part in the January rush when it comes.

Rather than spending their budget in current product advertising during Q3 and Q4, it is fa more beneficial for the automotive industry to invest in teasers and up-coming product reviews as the year comes to a close.

Charity

Experiencing a relatively low but constant search engine and YouTube interest throughout the year, including Q3, charities do begin to experience an increase as Q4 begins. This is in part due to the charitable associations surrounding the holiday season as well as end of year campaigns such as Children in Need and Remembrance Day.
In line with these trends, concerns about the homeless and the helpless at a time when most people are having fun and enjoying themselves begin to come to the fore, especially during the cold winter months, concerns that see themselves manifest in both the search engine and YouTube data. This is particularly the case for Giving Tuesday which experiences an increase all the way through November and it is at this time that people seem to be most concerned about charitable donations before being consumed by more personal matters around Christmas.

If charities want to make the most out of their campaigns and strategies to help those in need during the holiday period, it is around this time, in November, that they should be announcing their campaigns and adverts. By doing so charities can make sure they attract popular public concern, on both YouTube and Google, before Christmas occupies many people’s more immediate concerns.


Duncan Colman


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