Google released their Google Search Trends 2022 report that shows just how much customer expectations have shifted. Can we blame them? After all, the pandemic has changed the way customers shop — the stay-at-home orders showed an increase in online shopping, and customers expected things faster than they usually would have due to the fact that they couldn’t leave their houses.
What might be surprising is that it’s not just online shopping that customers expect better of. Now that mask mandates are lifted all over the world, customers expect businesses to extend their hours to late at night so that they might get their shopping done easier.
What the Google Search Trends 2022 Reveals
The Google Ads Research and Insights team looks at data every month regarding customer search queries and consumer behaviors to better understand market trends. Here are some things that Google says consumers have started to expect, based on their Google queries.
The pandemic has robbed individuals of certain experiences due to stay-at-home orders. It was tough for a lot of people, having to give up their entertainment in order to keep others safe. However, with mask mandates lifting everywhere, and with fewer COVID variants being reported in the news, things are looking up as far as customer experiences.
In particular, customers are searching for “late night shopping,” (which, let's be honest, is the only time any of us have time to do things, now that some of us are back in the office), “24/7 customer service,” “dog-friendly restaurants,” (dogs should be allowed everywhere, of course!), and even “next-day flower delivery.”
“24/7 customer service” and “next day flower delivery” belie the need for immediacy. Customers are tired of waiting, whether it's waiting for shipping or waiting on hold when trying to resolve an issue.
Things to do Outside
Now that mask mandates are lifting all over the world, people want to do things that they couldn’t while cooped up at home. For instance, “cinema near me” is a search that many people have queried due to movie theaters reopening for new movies, like Batman and Turning Red.
As streaming platforms become more expensive (let’s be real, we just reinvented cable when companies jumped on the streaming platform bandwagon), movies are becoming more and more popular to watch on the big screen. And who can say no to buttery, movie theater popcorn?
College students are also hopping on this trend, with searches regarding “spring break.” Spring break is a time-honored tradition for young adults all over, and since the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, it’s no wonder our scholars want to get out a bit and have some fun.
The term “seating chart” has also been googled a wide variety of times, highlighting the customer’s desire to go out to things like concerts and sports events. In the same vein, customers are googling “unique things to do” because let’s face it, people want to be tourists in their own cities after staying at home for months, and because travel restrictions are lifting, people want new experiences that they might have always wanted to do but missed out on because of the pandemic.
Seasonal Things To Do
2022 has ushered in the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and people all over the world are now searching for “figure skating.” Whether customers want lessons, or if they just want to experience a new sport before it becomes too hot to skate, the Olympics has definitely influenced customer search trends. “Winter Olympics,” have also seen an increase in growth, especially since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was postponed to 2021.
“Valentine’s Day nails” was also highly searched, and not just in 2022. Nail salons were closed for the pandemic, which means that customers either had to do them themselves or wait until salons opened up again. With all businesses open now, not just essential ones, it’s no surprise that customers want to bring back a little glamor in their lives with holiday-inspired nail designs.
“Winter vacation in” has also been a trending search, with customers googling the best place to spend chilly winters.
Searches for “makeup games” have been popular, probably amongst kids who want to makeover dolls and Barbies. Playing with dolls in person is an entirely different experience than playing with dolls online, and parents probably want to avoid the mess that comes with kids getting into makeup.
“Best movies to stream right now” has also been a trending search. With the pandemic, people now had more time at home to catch up on their favorite shows and movies. With over 200 streaming services available, it shouldn’t be a surprise that people want to continue watching movies from the comfort of their homes.
“Nursery plants near me” is also a popular search trend among customers. It’s obvious that people have missed the fresh air that the outside world can bring them, so plants are a great way to bring a bit of the outside inside.
“Hair trends female” is also a search trend that has been popular lately. With nothing to do during the pandemic, it’s no wonder women want to change their hairstyles. And with fashion constantly evolving, those who like to stay updated on different styles and fashion trends find themselves with the time to experiment with things like bangs and a middle part.
How This Impacts Marketers & Businesses
Staying informed about changing customer expectations is an essential part of marketing and making sure you convert website visitors into buyers. It can help your business meet customer needs better, ensuring that they choose your company over your competitors.
Meet customers where they are, and emphasize what they want by placing keywords and phrases on your website. Not only will this attract business, but it will also make customers feel heard.
If people want faster service, for example, ads could respond to that want in customers. Expedited service, especially with online business, is almost expected nowadays thanks to Amazon’s two day shipping policy, and while this can be hard to compete with, customers expect immediacy.
Reducing shipping time can make your business competitive, as people want things just as soon as they order them. The pandemic has also been a kind of waiting game in itself, with people anxiously waiting for a vaccine, for mask mandates to be lifted, for the pandemic to be over, etc. Immediacy, therefore, should be something businesses address, as even two days has become too long to wait.
If customers want to have live, in-person events, marketers might want to start organizing them. It doesn’t have to be a big event, either. Most people just want to be able to leave their houses. Marketers, then, can advertise at concerts, bodegas, bizzares, shopping centers, etc. Customers have been cooped up at home for so long, so it’s a good idea to center your advertisements on things people want to do outside.
Overall, customer expectations have shifted. Most customers value experiences and immediacy, especially now that the stay at home orders have been lifted. Now, customers want the immediacy they received when waiting for packages while stuck at home, and they want to travel to somewhere other than another room in their house.
This shift has been drastically influenced by the pandemic and the stay at home order, which has customers searching for ways to entertain themselves, as well as research places to go once orders are lifted. It just goes to show that the pandemic has influenced every aspect of our lives, including marketing and advertising.