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How people’s search and online behaviours have changed during the coronavirus pandemic

It is no secret that not only has our everyday lives changed during the pandemic, so have our online search and shopping habits. In this article, we will delve into five key topics that have defined this period – coronavirus, employment, retail, health and wellbeing and how-to content. To show how this differs across various countries in EMEA, we decided to focus on the UK, France, Germany and the UAE.

Please note all information was taken from Google Trends.

1. Coronavirus
All the countries we reviewed are currently seeing their lowest searches for coronavirus versus the last 90 days. However, where the search trends drastically peaked and then dipped back down for the UK, France and Germany, the UAE had seen a smaller peak that has only seen a steady and less steep decline, illustrating the slower rate in which the UAE was impacted by the coronavirus.

However, one thing that all the countries do have in common is that they are all searching heavily around statistics and the Worldometer site to keep track of coronavirus cases. Interestingly, the UAE had the most searches around specific countries, reflective of the UAE’s high proportion of expats.

2. Employment
Overall, all markets have seen a decline in job searches, however, each market has responded differently depending on their market. France and the UK have seen the biggest drops in job searches and Germany has seen the slowest decline; whereas, UAE has started to see an increase again in the last month.

Where the UK’s search terms concentrated quite heavily on part-time work and the furlough scheme, France had a lot more searches around temporary jobs and unemployment. Germany seemed to have the most stability although they also saw a “breakthrough” in searches around farming and fruit-picking related jobs – as did the UK. The UK also saw a spike in increases around supermarket jobs. Whereas, the nature of jobs in the UAE was mostly centred around delivery drivers indicating the difference in behaviours between the markets.

3. Health and wellbeing
Germany interestingly has seen searches around gyms spike during this period, but research is key, with both Germany and France having searched quite heavily for Yale’s paper on the “Science of Wellbeing”. Whereas, the UK was more concerned with how to manage wellbeing whilst working from home.

Home exercise has increased significantly in all markets with some celebrities coming out on top; Joe Wicks in the UK, Pamela Reif in France and Germany and Chloe Ting in the UAE.

4. Retail
Online shopping remained steady in all markets, bar Germany where we saw a decline. However, across the board, the behaviour of this online shopping has shifted drastically to food and supermarket stores.

Interestingly, the UK and France have seen the biggest shift in non-food related searches in the last few weeks with both markets seeing a significant increase in purchasing sports equipment – that isn’t to say the other markets aren’t purchasing, but that the UK and France have seen a significant increase in searches when looking at month on month. Kayaking and cycling coming out on top in both countries with tennis and golf also making good headway in the UK.

Working from home has seen an increase in home office and desk purchases in the UK and France too; whereas the UAE has seen significant increases in shopping on Noon.com (an Amazon type site).

5. How-to Videos
Finally, we look at the how-to video content that we have seen a trend for over the last 90 days. France, Germany and the UAE all saw increases in how to pray for Eid at home, and all markets had a significant increase in how to make face masks and how to set up Zoom calls – all indicative of the current climate and time of year.

However, other things keeping people busy in each market whilst they stay at home, has been cutting hair in the UK, how to make bread in France and how to make pizzas in the UAE; showing how everyone’s culinary skills should be improving during the pandemic! Finally, for something more light-hearted, how to solve a Rubix cube has been a breakthrough search term in Germany!

All Response Media viewpoint
Although the above showcases examples in specific areas, it’s indicative of how the market is changing and how people’s focusses in terms of online purchases, lifestyle and behaviour have shifted. Therefore, it’s important that as an EMEA agency, we’re aware of the trends our clients’ audiences are following so that we can ensure campaigns are delivered at the right time with the right message.

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