What Consumer Search Trends Reveal


As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to unfold, consumers’ responses to the pandemic are also continuously changing. Consumers throughout the world are responding with different actions, lifestyles, and search behaviors. Understanding these underlying insights from trending consumer search behaviors will help brands adapt their strategy for success during reopening and the future.


Over the next few days we will be reviewing our findings, based on our Reputation Management Tool.  Today we are featuring the restaurant industry but many of our insights will pertain to all business segments.


Uncertainty in the Start of COVID-19


The start of the pandemic led to fear and paranoia among consumers. Our data found that driving directions to businesses across all industries (through Google My Business (GMB)) dropped 44% in the month of April alone, while phone calls rose nearly 9%. These changes in local search behaviors reflect the inability for consumers to visit businesses as mandatory stay-at-home orders began to take effect. As shelter-in-place began to take effect and non-essential businesses were ordered to shut down, businesses everywhere scrambled to reinvent their business model. Changes in hours and operations resulted in U.S. businesses making 3.2x the average number of updates to their listings in the first month of COVID-19.

Search Behaviors for the Food Services Industry 


The typical weekend spent visiting brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues that were normal for the majority of Americans instantly changed. As more and more consumers started to spend more time at home, searches for alternatives dine-in options began to skyrocket. Over the last few years, local search has dominated with queries such as “restaurants near me” and general “near me” searches consistently ranking at the top.

The new normal from COVID-19 created a shift from these searches, with a 285% increase in search interest for “take out” and a 100% increase in search interest for “food delivery” related queries. The restaurant and food service industry quickly reacted to this by implementing services such as contactless delivery, ghost kitchens, and takeout services to maintain revenue streams and keep business alive. U.S. consumers have continued to prioritize their health and safety throughout this situation, with cleanliness remaining a top priority for consumers as well. Values in safety and simplicity resulted in a preference for contactless and drive-thru options among consumers during this time.

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If you want to track your own trends contact us about our Reputation Management tools.