The new Google tool helping retailers respond to changing consumer behaviour

covid-19 work from home

people will continue to work from home in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

Australians are learning to woodwork, bake bread, do a puzzle and — of course — wash their hands during the pandemic.

Google’s new ‘Rising Retail Category’ tool is helping to show how consumer demand is changing as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

The interactive tool, which categorises and aggregates a largely unfiltered sample of search requests, tracks and displays rising interest in Google Searches for a particular products over a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. It also shows the location where interest is growing, and the top growing queries associated to them.

The aim is to help retailers understand what people are searching for during the pandemic, so they can respond to changing behaviour.

Top 10 trending categories in Australia (change since last year)

  1. Hand sanitisers and wipes — Breakout (>1000%)
  2. Motor boats — Breakout (>1000%)
  3. Webcams — Breakout (>1000%)
  4. Household disinfectants (+900%)
  5. Model making (+800%)
  6. Digital artwork (+700%)
  7. Jigsaw puzzle accessories (+700%)
  8. Carpentry and woodworking project plans (+700%)
  9. Free weights (+600%)
  10. TV converter boxes (+600%)


Predictably, hand sanitiser and household disinfectants have been two of the big movers in Australia, with over 1000% and 900% increase in searches over the last year. Other categories that have seen a steep rise in popularity include webcams, model making, jigsaw puzzles and free-weights — up 1000%, 800%, 700%, and 600% respectively — as more of the population works from home and are taking up new hobbies in their free time.

The sourdough bread making craze has also converted into clicks, with searches for bread makers and yeast up 400 per cent respectively, while there is a clear demand to escape our four walls at the earliest opportunity, with motor boat searches up by over 1000% over the last year.

According to Google Australia’s retail industry director Renee Gamble, COVID-19 is presenting new challenges to businesses, so having access to insightful data around sector trends is more important than ever.

“The new dashboard aims to help empower businesses to make the most informed decisions,” she said.

“Through this tool, retailers will have access to timely data around rising interests and needs that people are searching for now so they can best adapt and optimise their business plans to meet the demand of their customers”

With winter on the horizon, the data shows individuals are now also looking to rug up, with searches for patio heaters and fireplaces up 200% over the last month.

But COVID-19 restrictions are still front-of-mind, with bicycles and bike accessories, hobby categories and home cooking appliances all showing a substantial rise in interest over the last month.

Top 10 trending categories in Australia (change over the last month)

  1. Patio heaters (+200%)
  2. Fireplaces (+200%)
  3. Bicycle child seats (+100%)
  4. Dutch ovens (+100%)
  5. Plant stands (+100%)
  6. Candle making kits (+100%)
  7. Space heaters (+100%)
  8. Log splitters (+100%)
  9. Cooking wine (+100%)
  10. Wood stoves (+100%)


As restrictions are being eased across Australia, it’ll be interesting to see if pie and quiche pans are still trending over the coming months.

NOW READ: The eight ways retail will shift after COVID-19

NOW READ: “Mass retail closures”: Why many retailers might not want their stores back after COVID-19

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.


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