What Google's Year in Search 2023 tells us about consumer habits

InsightFeatures Thu 25th Jan 2024 by Katrina Bell

What Google's Year in Search 2023 tells us about consumer habits

What Google's Year in Search 2023 tells us about consumer habits

Feature by Katrina Bell | Thu 25th Jan 2024

Katrina founded boutique digital agency Aardvark Multimedia in 2003, and has been a B2B journalist for over 25 years. She was the author of the Web Dr column for Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine focussing on online marketing strategies for KBB businesses. More

Consumer buying habits may be eye-opening at first, but peel back a layer and the nation’s purchasing patterns are revealed keyword by keyword, even when we aren’t shopping. 

Researching consumers' Googling habits in 2023 should have been a simple enough premise, given that the data is compiled in real time and is readily available. In fact, it’s 25 years since Google launched search.

Theoretically it should provide a snapshot of online buying habits in the UK that reflects fundamental clues as to how – and where – our shopping journeys start. Trouble is, you have to have a truly devious mind to work out what the 2023 search results mean, as well as taking into account that Google removes all the naughty words before it produces its’ year-end report..

So my first discovery was the most Google’d word tuned out to be the popular game Wordle, which only made sense when I found out that there are several clone versions of the game online and the Millennials, who have driven its success, are looking up the definition of the Wordle answer in such numbers that they skew the annual Google rankings. 

In the UK, Wordle was followed by India vs England for the cricket, Ukraine, Queen Elizabeth (presumably because of The Crown), Ind vs SA (even more cricket), World Cup (cricket), then India vs West Indies (cricket). And for a bit of variety, folks searched for the  iPhone 14, presumably to watch cricket on. And here’s the sneaky part. The cricket was behind a Sky pay wall, so these users are looking for a freestream.

So the majority of the keyword results boil down to people looking for a way not to spend money – in this case, on a subscription to watch the cricket. The other big sports event in 2023 was free to view. 

Interestingly, one of the most tech-savvy groups of shoppers – men in their 20s and 30s – are also not using Google to find the latest massive game releases or movies because they are getting their information from blogs, Discord, Reddit and the like. Plus if they, like the cricket fans, want a free stream, they already know where to find it via word of mouth or a niche forum. This is possibly the hardest group behaviour to market to if you rely too heavily on Google. 

Speaking of which, the 2023 results for direct shopping request trends was a less muddy path to enlightenment:

* Clothing
* Video games
* Sports gear
* Toys
* Cosmetics
* Home appliances
* Electronics

Google Trends provides an instant snapshot of how a keyword is behaving and can be tailored to regional results

Making use of Google Trends, a must-have bookmark, will get you the most accurate keyword search data available to gather keywords for your digital marketing, content creation and search engine optimisation. It shows users what people are searching for as impacted by time, season, and location. Once you become confident in its use, Trends will give you the edge you need in forecasting.

Which is all a long-winded way of emphasising how important it is to review your traffic with a critical lens. Where your customers arrive from is never an accident, or purely generational. 

Tags: insight, features, digital marketing, google trends, kitchens

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