Online retail visits in the UK have slowed in March, rising by only +0.7% YoY compared to the +1.7-1.8% growth rates in January and February. One key factor to note is that Easter falls three weeks later in 2019. So these results are not as worrying, considering that March 2018 included the all-important Easter run up period. The contraction in UK total visits has come from off-peak verticals, including Department Stores (dipping by -0.8% YoY), Rewards & Directories (-4.2% YoY) and Consumer Electronics (-8.5% YoY).
But other categories, like Health & Beauty (+7.2% YoY) and House & Garden (+9.5%), have seen a healthy rise in March. Weather conditions and changes in consumer behaviour have contributed to this uptake. Contrasting to last year, which was hit by the Beast From The East, people are preparing for the spring season earlier in the year.
Searches for diet brands (“slim n save”, “slimfast, “slimming world”) and summer-prepping beauty products (“fake tan”, “hyaluronic acid”) have grown 100%+ compared to last March.
Consumers were also looking to renovate their homes and gardens, with searches for “fence panels”, “garden furniture” and “wooden planters” rising by 50%+ YoY. Top furniture, garden & DIY players have grabbed more share, including Manomano (+147% YoY share in House & Garden category), Thompson & Morgan (+45% YoY), Wayfair (+39% YoY), and ToolStation (+24% YoY). See and learn from what happened in the Home & Garden industry last year. Watch out for the 2019 Home & Garden Report.
Seasonality has been more favourable for certain verticals. But looking at a category like Consumer Electronics, the latest mobile phone searches (“Samsung S10”, “Huawei P30” and “iPhone XR”) were still trending in March. While actual purchases tend to happen over key sales periods like Cyber Week, consumers were still looking for hot products, including the “Nintendo Switch” and “Dyson V11”, this month.
This shows that search insights can act as a great source for content inspiration. Stay close to trending terms to further engage and attract customers during off-peak months.
Managing Director EMEA & APAC
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