The new year has started positively. Online retail visits grew +1.8% YoY; a turnaround from the -0.6% YoY decline in December. This was seen among Department Stores (from -0.2% in December to +2.1% in January) and Health & Beauty (from -1.7% to +4.3%) categories reversing their end of year results.
Two other industries traditionally aligned to the Christmas peak also had further acceleration in January, including: Clothing, Fitness & Footwear (from +0.7% to +3.9%) and Food & Drink (+4.8% to 8.3%).
These rises were very much aligned to the growing health and ethically-conscious consumer; particularly as this trend becomes more widespread in the UK. Searches for “veganuary” had grown 25% YoY, with the Food & Drink industry seeing a number of new terms, like: “vegan hotdogs”, “vegan nuggets” and “vegan blue cheese”. Searches for “dry January” also rose 24% YoY. Nights out were swapped for nights in, with branded searches for subscription box services, like “Hello Fresh”, “Gusto” and “Simply Cook”, among the top-rising terms.
Overall, January has started on a positive note with a number of categories returning to, or accelerating, growth. The rise of ethical and sustainable food and fashion is only one reason why retailers need to stay close to the consumer. Brands need to understand what customers are caring about heading into 2019, and how they can best respond to these needs.
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