Online Industry Trends
Spring is in the air and retailers are ready for a seasonal change. The sector has had a challenging start to the year, with Q1 sales declining by 1.4% – the largest quarterly fall in 7 years, according to ONS.
But not all retail verticals have felt the same squeeze. House & Garden has come off a successful year, growing by 7.9% in online visits and 20.2% in online sales year-on-year, according to Hitwise and IMRG statistics.
Easter, a peak period for House & Garden, has also fallen closer to the summer season this year, which has had a positive impact on online visits, with a rise of 14.8% over the 2 weeks of Easter, compared to last.
In this report, we analysed the online performance over Easter, and highlighted which retailers and brands have capitalised the most during this peak period. These insights are split into the following categories of: Garden, DIY Tools, Furniture and White Goods.
Garden: Search Trends
Garden searches have increased rapidly over the past 8 weeks, at 30% higher in total search clicks and 68% higher in paid clicks, compared to the equivalent weeks in 2016.
Outdoor products, such as rattan garden furniture and sun loungers, have driven this rise in recent weeks.
Garden: Top Players
Looking at downstream results from garden product searches, Homebase, Amazon and Wickes have maintained sizeable shares compared to last year.
Argos and eBay, on the other hand, have grown 66% and 82% respectively, matched by their increased PPC.
Garden: Top Risers
Argos has focused successfully on their garden range, rising by an incredible 173% in search clicks over the past 8 weeks.
Other top players have also ramped up their search optimisation efforts, showing a tighter contest in the garden category as we approach Summer.
DIY Tools: Search Trends
Searches for DIY tools have steadily increased week-on-week since the start of the year, growing by 47% from the week ending 7-Jan to the week ending 22-Apr.
Hot DIY products have emerged over Easter, including a 945% rise in search clicks of “karcher pressure washers” over the past 4 weeks.
DIY Tools: Top Players
The top 10 players accounted for 49% of downstream share in the 4 weeks ending in Easter, with 8 out of 10 players increasing their search share compared to last year.
Argos, Wickes and Tool Station saw significant double- and triple-digit growth over this Easter.
DIY Tools: Top Risers
PPC has largely contributed to this growth, with top risers – Argos, Wickes and Tool Station – increasing their average paid rates by 20% since the start of March.
Out of the three, Wickes was able to generate the highest proportion of organic clicks for the DIY tool category.
Furniture: Search Trends
After January’s peak, searches for furniture have stabilised heading into Summer.
Storage+furniture and specialised mattresses are still in high growth, including a 24% rise in search clicks for “sofa bed” and 147%rise for “ottoman bed”, when comparing the start and end of April.
Furniture: Top Players
Competition is more spread for furniture searches, with the top 50 players accounting for 66% of downstream traffic.
Out of the top 5, Argos, Wayfair and eBay have grown considerably compared to last year’s Easter (20%, 88% and 58% respectively).
Furniture: Fast Risers
Despite this stabilising period, the past eight weeks has seen incredible growth with select players, including: British born manufacturers (such as Harveys, Cotsworld and Oak Furniture Land) and specialist brands (such as Simba Sleep and Eve Mattress).
White Goods: Search Trends
Although Christmas typically sees the largest rise in white good searches, Easter has triggered an uptake in paid clicks (12% from start to end of April).
Preparing for summer, terms around fridges and freezers, along with integrated solutions have had the largest growth week-on-week.
White Goods: Top Players
Compared to other categories, White Goods are dominated by a handful of retailers.
The top 3 – Currys, AO and Argos – have increased both their downstream share (50% to 56%) and paid rates (56% to 68%) over this Easter period, compared to last.
White Goods: Fast Risers
Other players are also growing rapidly in this category, including a range of retailers and direct brands.
All of the below fast risers, except for Panasonic and IKEA, have invested heavily in PPC to do so.
Keep a close eye on fast moving search terms, particularly in Garden and DIY tool categories, which are looking to grow at a higher rate than last year.
Track this year’s hot products, such as rattan garden furniture, outdoor loungers and pressure washers, and identify who is getting their downstream traffic (and are they doing so through paid or organic clicks).
React swiftly and accordingly by analysing trending products’ search variations. Identify a list of high organic terms to inform your own PPC strategy.
Understand where else your competitors are getting their traffic from and for which products. Compare this with your own channel strategy (are you missing out on any affiliate opportunities).
Profile the audiences behind trending search terms (where else do they visit online and what else are they interested in). Use these insights for display or content opportunities, to enhance reach.