Since the global onset of COVID-19, wild fluctuations in consumer demand have created new challenges for retailers all over the world.
Previous methods to understand and get ahead of changing consumer interests—from Google Trends to social listening and surveys—have continued to inform decisions made on the fly. But these techniques represent a narrow focus, and fail to account for related product categories that suddenly gain popularity and pose opportunities.
That’s set to change with the recent release of Google’s latest observational report, Rising Retail Categories.
How does it work?
Very simply, Rising Retail Categories allows users to track which product categories are trending in 12 different countries. It comes complete with a basic filter for weekly, monthly, and yearly time ranges, as well as relative volumes across the selected geo.
So, how exactly does this change the game? Previously, Google Trends users could measure how frequently a specific search term is entered into Google relative to the total times it has been searched for over a given time period. For example, “turkey recipes” in the lead up to Thanksgiving. The crucial thing to remember is that the insights a user may surface are, by definition, limited by the inputs they provide to the tool.
In comparison, the Rising Retail Categories tool is geared towards users interested in market demand trends where products are already sorted into individual categories—making it easier than ever to understand broader consumer trends at a glance. This makes it a potentially priceless resource for marketers, especially those representing large chain retailers.
How to use Rising Retail Categories
We know that terms like “grocery delivery” and “face masks” peaked during the initial months of the pandemic for obvious reasons. But Rising Retail Categories offers a deeper understanding of particular markets during defined time periods.
- Most obviously, businesses can use this tool to plan out promotions based on predictions for specific markets at specific times. This could include determining which products to feature on a homepage and where to focus content creation.
- Brand strategists can use Rising Retail Categories to tap into related industries when demand justifies it. For instance, a coffee brand may seek to capitalize on rising interest in telescopes by targeting stargazers who need a caffeine assist for their late-night sessions.
- Search marketers who rely on retail trends can identify product/market fit for individual areas. Marketers can also find the right keywords to target a particular market.
- Rising Retail Categories can even inform manufacturing choices, especially for products with a relatively short turnaround time. For example, an apparel company with a fast, flexible production model could use this data to inspire new product line ideas.
What comes next?
Google has promised to update the tool with fresh data every day for the next few months to “help businesses of all sizes find new pockets of consumer interest”. For now, businesses and their marketing partners simply have to hit ‘subscribe’ and start integrating Rising Retail Categories into their broader strategies—from SEO to voice to content and beyond.
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