2019 has started at a much slower pace than this time last year, with January-February traffic increasing by +1.7% YoY compared to +6.8% YoY in 2018.
The largest change has come from Clothing, Fitness & Footwear. The category has slowed from +3.9% YoY in January to +2.6% YoY in February; a big disparity from +10.7% in February last year.
Weather has had a big impact. The Beast from the East led to spikes in searches for winter coats and boots in 2018. This year’s unseasonably warm February brought forward searches for summer dresses, tops and trainers. But this change seemed to fall short of boosting the overall category within the same month.
Valentine’s Day has boosted Food & Drink and Books, Stationary & Home Entertainment categories. The key retail event is increasingly online, with visits to Flowers & Gifts sites rising by 14.3% YoY over the week. Tracking the key changes, searches around “Valentine’s meal deal” rose 99% YoY, “flowers delivery” grew 22% YoY and even “funny Valentine’s” increased by 16% YoY.
So, online growth is falling short from the double-digits of previous years. One recommendation is to stay close to the consumer through search. This can help determine how consumers are responding to weather changes, or how retail events like Valentine’s Day are shifting.
Managing Director EMEA & APAC
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