Google Search Reveals Hot Holiday Trends

Pillow PetGoogle released preliminary 2010 holiday shopping search trends Thursday. The Mountain View, Calif. tech company continues to work with OTX, a research company, to examine consumer purchase trends for the 2010 holiday shopping season, how consumer behavior has changed, and how shopping habits look as we head into the holidays.

Aside from the research from OTX, some perspective on search trends from Google Insights could help search engine marketers (SEM) -- paid search and search engine optimization (SEO)-- better prepare for the increase in Web site traffic.

Many SEM believe there are four main tools to control performance-keywords, cost per click (CPC), ad text and landing pages, according to Google. They evaluate each of these variables using data to determine the most effective combination that will provide results that scale up or down depending on the need. Some sophisticated marketers also rely on dayparting, which allows them to target specific audiences at designated times. The tools help marketers turn campaigns on a dime, as demand rises or falls.

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Meanwhile, the shopping season has begun. Consumers who are waiting to begin shopping for gifts fall into the minority. While 73% of people have already started holiday researching and shopping, 51% have already made a holiday buy, and 76% have yet to complete making the purchases on their holiday shopping list.

Google knows the hot stuff for the holidays. Searches on 3D TVs rose ten times in 2010 compared with 2009. Consumers looking for flip camcorders rose about 30% this year compared with last; and "kids computers" rose by around 30% since this summer.

Consumers want deals this holiday season. Searches for "bogo" (buy one get one free) continue to rise steadily since 2005, but up about 10% year-on-year. As consumers look for information and deals from favorite retailers, some stores like Walmart, Best Buy and JCPenney continue to see spikes in online traffic. In the past 30 days, searches for Black Friday 2010 have become increasingly popular, according to Google Insights for Search. Searches for "free shipping day" continue to spike and slide, but rose 10% overall compared with the year-ago period, as awareness of free shipping days continues to grow.

If search engines can predict the next hot toy, Google would tell us that those include Pillow Pets and Magic Orbeez Maker. Searches on Pillow Pets, stuffed animals with traditional pillow functions, rose nearly 70%, compared with the year-ago period. And for Magic Orbeez Maker -- beads and pellets that grow when immersed in water, and are then used to play games -- searches rose 100% in the past 90 days. Similarly, searches for 'nerf stampede' are one of the fastest-rising toy searches in the past 30 days. For designers out there trying to stay in fashion, evidently Google can predict the hottest colors. Black remains hot. Research shows it's the most commonly searched-for shade within the apparel category, outpacing all others by at least 50%. Red, blue, pink, green, yellow and purple follow, respectively. Searches for both green and purple have been on the rise during the past six years.

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