“Eco Travel” searches rise +40% YoY

“Eco Travel” searches rise +40% YoY

Sustainability has dominated headlines in the past year.

The UK government announced plans to cut over 100,000 tonnes of food waste each year. Supermarkets have agreed to ban all single-use plastic by 2025. Sir David Attenborough also said that if we don’t take action against climate change, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world.

The government, retailers and brands are pledging to take action, as public attention has focused on how people’s food and retail choices are impacting the environment. 

Is sustainability also driving the agenda for another industry – travel?

“Eco Travel” searches rise over two peak periods

Hitwise data shows that searches around “eco travel” in the UK have increased by +40% compared to last year, with two key rises over peak holiday periods. February saw a +50% increase in searches YoY, whilst August had a staggering +100% YoY growth. 

In a recent survey, Booking.com also revealed that 72% of travellers believe that people need to make sustainable travel choices to preserve the planet for future generations. (Source: Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2019).

So, have people acted on this? Using Sweden as an example, a growing community of travellers are reducing the flights they take or abandoning air travel altogether to help save the planet. This no-fly movement has also introduced ‘flight shaming’ to dissuade the population from flying (Source: The Guardian).

“Eco Travel” Search Trend

Source: Hitwise, UK. Searches for “Eco Travel/Holiday/Tourism” and related terms. 

Trending search terms for eco travel 

At the height of the anti-plastic movement late last year, searches around eco travel in Winter were driven by smaller purchases like “mugs” and “bottles”. The government announced its ban plastic straws in October 2018, and supermarkets like M&S pledged to remove plastic packaging by the end of 2019. 

Fast-forward to the next holiday peak period in Summer, searches then shifted to terms around “carbon offsetting”, “why” and “apps”. This shift indicated that people are now becoming increasingly conscious of their travel footprint, seeking information and advice. 

Top Rising Searches Around “Eco Travel” Products
Winter YOY (12 weeks to 16 Feb)

RankSearch TermYoY
“Eco travel mug96%
2“Eco friendly travel cutleryNEW
3“Eco friendly travel”147%
4“Eco travel bottles UK”NEW
5“Eco friendly travel soap boxNEW

Source: Hitwise, UK. Selected top rising terms YoY around “eco travel”. 

Top Rising Searches Around “Eco Travel” Products
Summer YOY (12 weeks to 3 Aug)

RankSearch TermYoY
1Why you should eco travel”NEW
2“Eco friendly travel mugNEW
3“Eco travel carbon offsettingNEW
4“Eco friendly travel appsNEW
5“Travel eco friendly washing powderNEW

Source: Hitwise, UK. Selected top rising terms YoY around “eco travel”. 

Which core segment is the most environmentally conscious? 

The eco-travel agenda is driven by younger generations. Affluent millennials, aged 25-34 yo, are most likely to search for eco-friendly terms compared to other age groups. But looking at searchers year-on-year, there is a growing interest among the older generations. 

The Eco Traveller Profile

Source: Hitwise, UK. Searches for “Eco Travel/Holiday/Tourism” and related terms. Index compared to the general online population. 12 weeks to 3 August 2019 YoY. 

Hitwise data shows that consumers are addressing the next key industry impacting the environment, which is travel. Through search, people are seeking information and advice on how to travel in a sustainable way and making smaller changes with purchases of eco-friendly travel items. 

As we have seen with other industries, younger generations are driving this change, but wider groups and ages are taking notice. 

Check out your carbon footprint on WWF to see the changes you can make.

Look out for more Hitwise insights and information around our multi-market data, or contact us here. To learn more about how you can optimize your media strategies, have a look at the new features on the new Hitwise here.

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