When the UK entered lockdown on March 23rd, Google became the public’s first port of call for updates, information, and shopping. As a result, the following weeks saw the search landscape change dramatically. Popular search trends ranged from recipes (who still has a sourdough starter on the go?) to mental health advice as people across the country struggled to find a new normal.
One of the biggest changes was the transition to almost exclusively online shopping, since the high street was closed, and people’s shopping priorities. Purchases from non-essential industries such as fashion and travel saw a decline in sales, but other areas enjoyed an increase in traffic – particularly the home & garden and fitness sectors.
Now that lockdown is easing, we wanted to explore how these search trends may have changed.
Returning to Work
One of the first and biggest lockdown-easing announcements from the government was that certain industries that were unable to work from home during lockdown would now be able to return to work. As time goes on, more and more of these industries that cannot work from home are being allowed to re-open their businesses, but many are concerned with their personal safety and the safety of their customers.
This has caused a rise in searches for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can be used in the workplace. A workplace equipment company working with our SEO team has seen a 43% increase in organic sessions and 229.22% increase in organic revenue between April and May 2020, much of which can be attributed to PPE related equipment including hand sanitiser, 2m apart floor markers, disposable face masks, and social distancing signage.
Similarly, a fashion company working with our SEO team began selling face masks and continued to see sales rise throughout May and into June as the demand for masks increased following government advice about the use of public transport when returning to work.
Parenting at Home
While the government may have announced that children from certain year groups may return to school as of June, many children are still being educated at home and cared for full time by their household. The impact of Covid on searches for children’s products has been significant, causing a 135% increase in parent & toddler related searches as parents seek to educate and care for their children entirely at home without support.
Those with young children and babies, in particular, found themselves dissatisfied with the stock and range of products available in supermarkets, and unable to shop at high street stores began going directly to the brands they trusted. This trend has allowed companies that would typically rely on B2B sales to open up their B2C offering and appears to be continuing post-lockdown.
Our SEO team works with two big brands from the parent & toddler sector, both of whom have seen fantastic organic growth since lockdown which is continuing to increase to date. Between 23rd March when lockdown began and the end of May, one parent & toddler client saw an 87% increase in sessions and 154% increase in revenue compared to the previous period, while the other parent & toddler client saw a 143% increase in sessions and a 328% increase in revenue – all driven from organic searches for baby and toddler products.
Working From Home
The new normal for many involves working from home. Throughout lockdown, we’ve seen huge increases in organic performance for our companies in the home & garden sector. It’s been the biggest sector for organic search growth due to Covid with a 190% increase in related searches. In the first week of April, at Visualsoft alone we saw a 33% increase in garden plants & tree sales!
With the majority of people spending all of their time either inside their home or in their gardens, they’re naturally seeking to improve their surroundings to make them more enjoyable, and to make them more work-friendly.
One company that works with our SEO team provides garden supplies from furniture to tools, fencing and outdoor heating. From the start of lockdown until the end of May, their organic sessions increased by 599% and organic revenue increased by 594% compared to the previous period.
This traffic was mainly driven by searches for garden structures that could be used to facilitate outdoor working or be used as a workspace away from the main home such as summerhouses and cabins. As we head into the summer months, and with many still choosing to work from home, we’re expecting this search trend to continue!