In late March and early April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at the height of global expansion, we were looking at a bad prospect not only for health but for many economic field. As a company that focuses on website analytics and assisting website owners around the world, we are concerned about how network blocking and social segregation measures are affecting businesses. Statistics for website traffic for everyone have fluctuated a lot. There were a few winners, but most of them lost miserably.
For a global overview, we looked at consumers’ search engine behavior using global search trends. As expected, the topic of viruses has dominated search interest, to the point where it has become more popular than all other most popular searches (weather, Youtube, Facebook). In the wake of a pandemic, internet activity has increased dramatically, but it is not evenly spread. Some search topics have recorded huge losses. Among the sectors most affected are events websites, hair and cosmetics searches, restaurants (but food delivery preferences have increased), interests & entertainment categories. , real estate, sports and tourism.
As stated at the time, we believe that businesses (and their respective websites) that have managed to survive this difficult time will see a turnaround and recovery, maybe even stronger than before.
Meanwhile, large and small companies are suffering. Hertz recently filed for bankruptcy, and many major failures are expected in the air travel industry. So things may not yet be searched, at least in some areas.
Once the restrictions are being lifted, however, consumers will find a way to start spending again. Again, these consumer intentions on a global scale can be studied and even predicted by looking at the big data in search trends. And it gives us hope.
Are people continuing to pursue corona virus?
At least in terms of their active preferences, it seems. Viruses are no longer dominating the news and interest in it has subsided. After the staggering climax in late March, It is currently only slightly more popular than search engine queries about the weather. Hopefully, a sign that people are planning to spend more time outside.
Interest in sectors affected by door locks is rebounding
One area that not only has grown again but also seems to be reaching new heights is Beauty & Fitness. After months of no service, people are looking for help from hair salons and beauty centers. Beauty & Fitness as a whole is currently at a 12-month high in terms of search interest. Hair care at an all-time high. The aesthetic processes are almost at the pre-lock level. Spas & beauty treatments recover a bit more slowly but are still up about 30% since the end of March.
Hobby searches around the world for the topic “Hair Care” for the past 90 days. Source: Google Trends
Many people have assumed that people would avoid public spaces even after locking their devices, for fear of infection. For example, it is thought that restaurants will still have many difficulties in convincing customers to return to their old habit of going out to eat. Data shows they may have been pessimistic. Even searches for “restaurants near me” have bounced back from an all-time low to an interest rate increase of more than 60 percent, in a short span of time. It seems that, as long as the restaurants are allowed to operate, there will be customers available, although we are still a long way from hitting the caveat.
Interest search for “restaurants near me”. Source: Google Trends
Contrary to our early prediction, Real Estate-related search terms also made an unexpectedly quick recovery. Consumer interest has grown by more than 35% since the lowest levels in March and April. And the trend goes up for everything from rental to real estate development and investment.
Interest in Sports has only increased slightly so far, as most major leagues are not yet ready to restart, but we’re expecting a boost as they do.
There are several reasons for optimism in the travel industry. This trend is on the rise and even some of the hardest hit sectors, such as Car Rental & Taxi Services, are on a positive note, indicating that people are starting to actively seek search for such services.
The event is not ready for recovery
On the other hand, it is impossible to have a customer interest in things that are simply not available in the near future. One area that remains entangled is everything related to events and tickets. There are no concerts, no festivals, no sporting events with the audience, no assemblies and reunions. In the current context, it’s clear that there are very few search engine queries for anything related to this. And this industry can suffer almost irreparable damage.
One kind of responsive event, however, is a wedding. Searching for “wedding dresses” and “wedding rings” are trending positively, which is good news for sites that offer these products.
So there is hope and even the possibility of growth in some areas. If you are a website owner whose traffic has been affected so far, there should be better times ahead. Remember not only to track your personal data, but also check out general trends to get an idea of your industry. The things you will find may surprise you. Worldwide trends can be too general, but you can always consider trends specific to your country or region.
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