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Research Reveals Covid-19 Consumer Behavior Insights

New data shows there is a New Normal in online shopping behavior. This is what we learned.

covid-19- digital shopping trends

BrightEdge analyzed search behavior during the most recent 90 days. They discovered profound shifts in search behavior that will be with us for years to come in what they call The New Normal.

The following is a description of search trends across industries, showing which are strong and which are showing signs of rebounding.

BrightEdge identified four kinds of impact types:

1. Rebounding
2. Accelerating
3. Stabilizing
4. Recovering

The way consumers are spending has completely changed and certain aspects of it will stay with us for a long time.

According to BrightEdge:

“Marketers need to rethink traditional marketing mix and the role of digital in the “New Normal” re-evaluating product, price, digital strategy and place/local.”

One insight is that search behavior has changed in a major way across a range of products. An example is curbside pick up as well as takeout. Another example is pivoting from promoting one product to selling other products that are in higher demand.

How consumers buy products has shifted to a greater degree to the digital marketplace.

Where Consumer Demand is Now


Rebounding product categories are those that saw a drop in demand. The following are showing signs of slowly coming back:

  • Apparel
  • Baby and Maternity
  • Beauty
  • Restaurants and Cuisine
  • Data Center
  • IT Network


These are product categories that normally have an upward demand trend but because of sheltering in place, they are seeing a shift as high as 200% over normal demand.

This means that normal promotional and stocking projections must be adjusted upward.

These are the accelerating categories:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Pet Adoption
  • Garden and Patio


These are the industries that experienced extreme surges and are now stabilizing.

Examples of industries that will continue to be strong and competitive:

  • Collaboration
  • IT Security
  • Gaming
  • Grocery


These are the industries that were hit and that are experiencing a moment of change. For example, the way consumers experience concerts is in a state of change with more and more becoming accustomed to streaming their concerts, shows and live performances.

That’s an example of the strategy BrightEdge recommends of transforming the business model to accomodate changing modes of consumption and preparing for the changes being seen today.

These are the industries in the Recovering phase:

  • Concerts
  • Hotels
  • Things to Do
  • Wealth Management

Top Trending Niches

  • Media streaming and gaming, particularly on weekends.
  • Gardening and patio are trending 200% above normal spring highs
  • Sports-related searches crashed. But they are beginning to slowly rebound.
  • Cycling, training and stationary bikes trending very high but already giving way to bicycling.
  • Concerts and in-person events are heavily down. However, live-streamed events are seeing increased interest.
  • Will be interesting to see if live streamed events gain popularity on streaming platforms the way pay per view events did on cable.
  • Hotel searches are down but slowly beginning to rebound.
  • Restaurant search volume dropped by 50% but is rebounding as customers adjust to takeout and curbside pickup.

The search trends for contactless delivery and curbside takeout are rending upward.

30 and 90 search trends

The 90 day trends for Takeout Near Me is higher than curbside takeout and contactless delivery.

That means restaurants must optimize for their geographic area and be ready to for weekend demand peaks.

90 day search trends for the search query Takeout Near Me

Grocery shopping is still at high levels but the peak is well behind.

Graph of trending grocery related consumer searches

Health and hygiene continue to surge with multiple product types showing strong demand.

According to BrightEdge:

“Queries for toilet paper drove the most dramatic spike in search volume amongst health and hygiene products at the beginning of the lockdown.

Peppermint oil and fish oil saw increased interest due to folklore around their COVID fighting capabilities being shared online.”


Financial related queries have surged, with searches trending for topics on 401K, retirement accounts, and stocks, as well as other investment related queries.

Finance related consumer behavior trends

B2B Search Trends

B2B related searches dropped as businesses scrambled to implement work from home procedures but normal business related queires are slowlyg rebounding.

BrightEdge notes:

“Searches around CRM and Customer Experience initially dropped but are slowly regaining interest.

Interest in Data Center and Cloud topics lagged as companies struggled to come to terms with the impact of COVID-19 on revenue and operations.
Volume is building once again as organizations look to their needs over the longer term.”

Focusing on the New Normal

There are many trends that are going to be with us for years. Many companies are declaring that working from home will be a part of company culture for at least the next few years if not permanently. This is the kind of thing that is known as the New Normal.

According to BrightEdge, these are the important questions that need to be answered in order to meet the challenges of the New Normal:

  • How does our product need to change?
  • How may our pricing change?
  • How will our promotion and place strategies adapt to the impacts of social distancing?

Graph showing what the economic New Normal is

Anticipate and Strategize for the New Normal

The rapid shift toward online channels may likely be here to stay as consumers become accustomed to shopping, ordering, and paying for products online more than at any time in history.

Understanding and adapting to these changes are key to dealing with the incredible moment of change that is upon us now and moving forward with the New Normal that will be with us for the foreseeable future.

Get the full BrightEdge report here:

SEO Insights, Opportunities, and Performance in an Era of Uncertainty

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Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Research Reveals Covid-19 Consumer Behavior Insights

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