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Google Product Search Drops for Fourth Consecutive Month
With the pandemic shifting how consumers shop, is Google beginning to lose its hold as a starting point for search?
While Google is still the dominant starting point for product search, we have seen a steady decline in the last four months. Power Retail surveys thousands of online shoppers each fortnight, revealing trends around consumer behaviour. The latest Trajectory Report shows that back in May 2021, 56% of Australian shoppers started their product search via Google. In June, this dropped to 54%, then down to 51% in July. The latest survey results showed that in August 2021, 50% of shoppers began their online product search using Google.
What is also interesting, is that around a quarter of shoppers begin their search directly via a retailer’s website. This shows why having a strong branding strategy is vital. The pandemic may have pushed shoppers online last year, but what we’re seeing is that shoppers are developing strong relationships with online stores. Loyalty and retention strategies have never been more important.
So, with Google losing its hold, and search direct to retailer websites remaining steady, which channel is experiencing a boost? Marketplaces seem to be the beneficiaries of this shift in consumer behaviour. Over this same four month period, marketplace search has grown by around 44%. Back in May, 16% of Aussie online shoppers began their product search on marketplaces. In August this year, this figure has jumped to 23%. Much of this growth can be attributed to eBay, which has grown from 8% to 12% in four months. Amazon as a first point of product search has increased from 5% to 7%. Other marketplaces combined now account for 4% of initial product search.
With shoppers becoming more comfortable in the online space, how will search behaviour continue to evolve? Shoppers who now shop more regularly are able to go straight to their favourite retailers to find exactly what they’re looking for. Marketplace penetration is also growing, with pricing and convenience a major drawcard.
Google Ad spend is up 20.3% year-on-year and Average Cost Per Click is 61 cents (compared to 51 cents at the same time in 2020). With more shoppers online now than ever before and retailers spending more to fight for visibility, it’s important for retailer strategy to take into account changing consumer habits. As we head into the holiday season with online spend to hit record levels, search strategy has never been more important.
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