With more than 9.23 billion vaccines administered worldwide to date, it’s easier for us to come back to travel, concerts and family gatherings. Yet, with the recent spread of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron around the world, we realize that the end is not as near as we had anticipated.
Since the first outbreak of COVID-19 in November 2019, so much has changed. We have learned to adapt to the frequent changes dictated by the progression of the pandemic and the restrictions it has brought. Remote work and even distance education, for example, may remain a permanent part of our landscape.
Research data provides real-time insights
Perion’s (NASDAQ:PERI) search technology division, CodeFuel, has built a visual representation of the post-vaccine world, based on millions of daily search queries over the past 180 days. The data provides valuable insights into what’s going on in consumers’ minds right now, as well as valuable clues about their current and future spending.
E-commerce still on the rise
One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was not having to worry about getting dressed every morning. But as more workplaces began to return to the office, consumers began to think about how to revamp their wardrobes, as evidenced by a 27% increase in searches for style-related topics. and fashionable.
Search data from the Home & Garden category reveals a 21% increase in queries between August and November, highlighting how focused people have been on their closest surroundings. This data is also echoed by recent market research estimating that the B2C e-commerce market for home and garden products is poised to grow by $25.88 billion between 2021 and 2025.
Double the work from anywhere
COVID-19 has made remote work more common, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of August 2021, 13.4% of employed people in the US were telecommuting due to the pandemic. As we transition from working from home to a hybrid work-from-anywhere mode, searches for messaging and video conferencing apps have increased by 26%, while search queries for VPN have increased dramatically, up 61%.
While many organizations have set target dates for early 2022 to return to the office, these dates are subject to change due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Research data shows that some of the top keywords and phrases searched for in late November and December were: ‘omicron’, ‘new covid variant’ and ‘omicron symptoms’.
Get out and move
Most of 2020 and early 2021 obviously showed a significant decrease in searches related to flights and travel; the subject comes back to the fore, but in a different way. The ongoing pandemic in many parts of the world and the Delta variant has changed the types of activities people seek.
In the United States, the summer months saw a significant increase in search queries for RVs and camping, which again declined by 53% as the weather changed. Searches for US national parks as well as theme parks in Florida and California increased by 63%, indicating that people may feel safer traveling locally with children and traveling in the great outdoors. This trend is expected to continue in 2022, especially given frequent changes in travel policies, required vaccination documents and additional restrictions.
Research related to Omicron and vaccination rates
For a few months, as more and more people got vaccinated, the data indicated that the news was no longer a priority compared to the previous year. However, two issues are of growing concern to researchers, as evidenced by the data:
Globally: Searches for the Omicron variant and its symptoms peaked from November 26, 2021.
In Under-Vaccinated States in the United States: Data shows that there is still a significant volume of research around COVID-19 and vaccinations.
What to expect in early 2022?
The 2021 holiday shopping season has been different from previous years. Based on the search data, consumers started searching for deals earlier than usual this year. Searches reflect growth in many categories, including a steady increase in the careers sector, in gadgets and tech solutions and, of course, searches by shoppers looking for the best gift deals.
As the Omicron wave looms at the start of the new year, in the first quarter of 2022, we expect continued growth in e-commerce categories and consumer electronics searches. Contrary to these, the travel sector, whose demand has already increased as evidenced by the volume of searches, is expected to suffer a further decline. According to Reuters, disruptions related to Omicron led to more than 4,000 flight cancellations on January 2, 2022.
Predicting consumption patterns is difficult, even at the best of times. But amidst all these changes, trends in search data point to some of the fundamental facets of human nature that marketers can rely on when planning future marketing campaigns.
Written by Sharona Meushar, Head of Marketing, CodeFuel.
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