Online customer behaviour is not as volatile as it was during early lockdown. But businesses and consumers are still trying to wrap their heads around a new normal — and those developments aren’t uniform across the world. Looking at what consumers prioritise is one way to align your brand with demand.
Continuing our series on post-Corona Amazon search trends, we want to illuminate some of the international differences, and try to find patterns to help you better understand your own customers and geography.
For June, we’re going to look at the three big English speaking markets: the USA, UK and Canada (sorry Australia and New Zealand — Canada mostly made it on the list to see how closely it aligned with American search trends). The fact that these countries are, in many ways, very similar will accentuate the differences that do exist.
Top ten search terms for June: USA
Top ten search terms for June: Canada
Top ten search terms for June: UK
The most noticeable thing about these lists is the similarities. The search for “face masks” reigns supreme — and variations of “mask” dominate all three countries.
Number of top search terms taken up by “face mask” variants:
- USA: 4
- Canada: 3
- UK: 3
Side point: Although “face masks” still dominate search terms, there appears to be growing consensus on how they are described. As we have previously mentioned, the number of variations on “face mask” is notable. But many of these (cotton face mask, bandana, disposable face mask) have now fallen out of favor.
With mandatory face mask usage laws coming into force in at least limited capacities in all three countries, the continued need to buy face masks isn’t hugely surprising. But even though masks need to be replaced, it will be interesting to see if/when market saturation ever knocks “mask” related terms from the top spots.
However, search term overlap doesn’t stop there— particularly between the US and Canada. Eight of the top ten top US search terms are duplicated in Canada (either directly, or with near equivalent searches), while only five terms are duplicated in the UK — four of which are variations on “mask”.
Americans and Canadians were both taken by a desire to purchase “gaming chairs” and “pools” during June, and all three nations decided they needed new iPhone cases — more on that later.
Trend 2: The Brits are making more varied searches
Both Canadian and American shopping habits remain more tied to coronavirus terms than their UK counterparts. To a degree, this is likely because the UK is actually ahead of both the US and Canada in terms of ecommerce penetration into retail. As of 2019, ecommerce sales in the UK accounted for nearly 20% of all retail transactions, whereas the number is closer to 10% Canada and 15% in the US.
British online shoppers are also permitted to purchase a wider range of goods online. The appearance of “Gin” in the top ten search may surprise North Americans who aren’t allowed to buy alcohol on Amazon.
Percentage of search terms tied to the prevention of COVID-19:
- USA: 60%
- Canada: 40%
- UK: 30%
Assigning some of the other terms to COVID-19 and the new ‘lockdown lifestyle’ is harder to attribute. For example, are the British buying Gin, legos and chocolate because they are bored? — it’s hard to say. But there is certainly one stand-out item that signals a return to normality.
Trend 3: Product releases can still make waves
At the beginning of June, Apple released new color variants of their iPhone 11 silicone cases. The term “iPhone 11 case” made it into the average top ten for all three geographies. This is notable because it’s the only search term totally unrelated to current events (or seasonal trends) to breach the top ten in any geography since we started this series.
To be fair, “iPhone case” could be described as an evergreen term — regularly appearing in the top search results pre-COVID, and iPhone 11 cases were in high demand after the launch of the iPhone 11 in September 2019. But this still displays an encouraging trend — despite our current situation, the impulse to buy new things remains.
Your brand might not garner such a loyal customer base as Apple, but similar outcomes can be achieved on a small scale. As the global economy ticks back into gear (for the time being), there is still room for trending purchases and “splashy” product releases.
Trend 4: Seasonality will continue
All three countries demonstrate seasonal purchasing trends. From Father’s Day gifts in the UK (and in the US if you break terms down on a week-by-week basis) to pools in the US and Canada, seasonality is important — even if muted by ongoing COVID-related shopping patterns.
In fact, ongoing seasonality is probably the number one useful takeaway we’ve identified throughout this whole series. Although buying patterns are in flux, life goes on, and the things we buy are impacted by the time of year. This actually becomes more obvious if you dive into more granular breakdowns of top search terms.
Again, the UK leads the way here. For example, if you take a date range near the end of June during which there was a heatwave, 70% of the search terms swap over for products related to the hot weather.
Top 10 UK search term (06/22 - 06/25)
- face masks: 2.00
- fan: 2.00
- paddling pool: 2.00
- face masks washable uk: 5.00
- swimming pool: 6.00
- sun lounger: 8.00
- iPhone 11 case: 9.50
- air conditioner unit: 10.00
- pool: 10.00
- gazebo: 10.50
Similar search patterns are playing out in the US and Canada, just further down the list. Ultimately, you should continue to take seasonal variation and holiday purchases into account when thinking about your business strategy. Simply put that in the context of broader economic transformation.
Data is the key to alignment
Targeting and advertising your products has never been so important. Doing that on Amazon relies on your understanding of customer data. We’ve actually just completed two different eBooks about accessing and utilising data on Amazon to better your strategic and tactical outcomes.
If you want to understand the operational side of analysing data yourself, check out — Mastering Amazon Brand Analytics. For a strategic overview of your options, How to Make Sense of Your Amazon Customer Data is the guide for you.