COVID-19 challenged the car-buying process in 2020, but not when it came to searches by consumers.
Toyota overtook BMW as the most-queried car manufacturer in search last year worldwide across 55 of 158 countries compared with the prior year, but the data only reflects those on Google Search. BMW dominated searches on Google in 2019, but fell approximately 70% last year.
The data released by Compare the Market reveals the search results from 158 countries across 2018, 2019 and 2020. The most recent set of data shows that Toyota was the most-searched brand in 34.8% of all countries analyzed -- up from 17.7% the year prior.
Search volume for the automotive manufacturer on Google Search across 2020 was circa 88.02 million, according to the data.
An increase in searches does not necessarily mean an increase in sales.
“Toyota announced and released an extensive and unique range of vehicles in 2020, which could contribute to it taking the lead,” according to the data. “New model releases such as the GR Yaris, Corolla Cross compact SUV and the C+pod launch all took place throughout last year.”
BMW declined from 2019 to 2020, where the brand was number one in 118 countries for 2019 and only 34 countries across 2020. This change reflects an almost 64% drop in search volume year-on-year.
One of the major challenges when analyzing the data is that it does not take into consideration searches on other engines such as Yandex, which some data estimates as the most-used search engine in Russia, or Baidu, the most-used search engine in China.
For example, Aurora reported that in 2020, Yandex held the most market share in Russia at 56.81% vs. Google at 40.68%. It also depends on what data marketers consider. Yandex led in overall search engine in Russia from July to September 2020, accounting for 59.3% of total user visits during that period. The share of Yandex visits decreased for the first time later in the year, according to Statista.
Analyzing Google Trends data for the most-searched automobile manufacturers for 158 countries on Google Search in 2018, 2019 and 2020, Compare the Market created a map highlighting 21 of the world’s most searched vehicle brands.
Ford came in as the most-searched-for automaker in the United States and Canada.
Inside Performance reached out to Compare the Market with additional questions and will update the article with any additional answers.