Do We Lie To Ourselves? How Online Behavioural Data Can Debunk Fads And Grow Sales

by Hitwise

Are We Getting Healthier?

According to Hitwise data, Britons are increasingly becoming health conscious. Searches for ‘keto diets’ have grown by +500 per cent in the last two years (Jan-May 2019). Searches for ‘flexitarian’ and ‘veganism’ have also risen by +50 per cent in this same time period.

But equally, not so healthy behaviours have grown, with terms like ‘bottomless brunches’ and ‘sausage rolls’ more than doubling in the past two years.

These white lies transcend generations too. Gen Z claim to be regular gym goers, they’re also more likely than others to search for ‘cakes’, ‘pizzas’ and ‘burgers’. Compared to other generations, Baby Boomers are most likely to consider their diets and lifestyles to be healthy. They’re also the biggest group when it comes to searches for ‘cider’, ‘wine’, and ‘whisky’.

Health & Fitness – Over-indexed Survey Responses vs. Searches, By Generation

Source: Hitwise & Kantar Media TGI, UK. 4 weeks to 15/06/2019.

Are We Secret Eaters And Serial Liars?

The answer is no. Instead, at Hitwise, we often find opposing behaviours around what people say they do, compared to what they actually do.

We also find that generational segmentation is better suited for macro trends and top-level insights. However, for marketing strategies and campaigns, the problem with grouping millions of people together, with different needs and interests, is oversimplification.

Marketers then require the tools to de-bunk misconceptions, segment deeper than generations to find target customers, and grow and engage existing ones.

How Did We Find Out That Cycling Shorts Were A Big Deal?

Businesses that tap into fast-growing online trends and segment deeper are the ones succeeding today. This is how we found out that cycling shorts made a big comeback last year.

Searches for ‘cycling shorts’ grew +23 per cent over the summer year-on-year. In 2017, the top recipients of these searches were expectedly sport retail sites, like Wiggle and Evan Cycles. Fast forward one year, the top recipients shifted incredibly to include fast fashion disruptors, like PrettyLittleThing and Boohoo.

Downstream From “Cycling Shorts” Searches

 Source: Hitwise, UK. 12 weeks to 01/09/2018 YoY.

We love this example, as you wouldn’t expect a comeback from this retro fashion item. Boohoo Group actually credited their 50 per cent jump in sales and 22 per cent rise in profits over the six months to 31 August to the cycling shorts.

Be The First To Identify Fast-Growing Online Trends

Boohoo and PrettyLittleThing were able to transform this explosive online trend into new merchandise at speed. This example demonstrates how search data can drive product ideation, and can make its way right across the organisation, from product design, merchandising, supply chain, to marketing.

So, our key learnings from these examples are:

  1. Question your assumptions and use online behavioural data to confirm or debunk these. What people think and say can often differ to what they actually do.
  2. Generations provide a great overview, but segment deeper to find your target audience. For example, consumers are searching for or browsing ‘cycling shorts’.
  3. Closely monitor fast moving trends, with search data acting as a great indicator. Respond and align your marketing channels and campaigns to capture this trend.

For more insights into digital behavioural data and how to grow your online sales, catch Hitwise presenting at 11:45 at the Figaro Digital Summer Conference on the 11 July.