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Search Traffic throughout December and the Christmas Break

Posted on 21 November 2014 by
Category: Search Optimisation

If you’re an e-commerce based business, or even a website that promotes services to a local area, you may want to consider to start planning for the future and think about a strategy for the Christmas period. We’ll elaborate in more detail in next week’s post of what strategies you can implement, but first lets look at the general search trends and patterns for the Christmas run-up through to January to give us a bigger idea of your potential market.

The Highs & Lows of December

December is typically an unusual month compared to the other 11 months of the year, the trend is mostly shared by e-commerce or shop based websites, but to some extent is shared by services and physical shops. The below images show the trend throughout the start of November until the end of January for a service based literary company, an ecommerce home & leisure company, an e-commerce electronic company and a vehicle sales company - with the most fluctuation in traffic starting mid December and levelling off again in the first 2 weeks in January, for all industries this is consistent.

Vehicles Nov Jan

Vehicles Nov Jan 1

Home Nov Jan

Electronic Nov Jan

Looking a little further into December traffic, we see that most people tend to decline searching for services and even last minute Christmas presents around a week to ten days before Christmas, this is typically the most quiet time of year for most industries as a high percentage of people are winding down for the year, in both business and personal related search queries.

Publish Dec

Home Dec

Vehicle Dec

Electronics Dec

Why? Bored Searchers, Christmas Cash & More Web Users

Throughout my years working with website data, I’ve noticed a rise in traffic for searchers year on year searching in the gap between Christmas and New Year, this is one of the opportunities to channel as a website which I’ll elaborate in our next post. This can be to do with a number of factors, but the biggest influencers can be:

Web Devices – It’s pretty obvious that technology and devices such as tablets and smartphones have grown significantly over the past five years. Due to the fact there are many affordable devices from an increasing number of brands and is something that is more likely to be in a Christmas stocking for some individuals. This increases the number of searchers for websites on the whole, as the ease of use and convenience makes it easier for people to search the web, as well as giving them something to do over the quiet period when everything is closed.

Christmas Money – Although it is common to receive gifts at Christmas time, it’s also becoming an increasing trend for people to receive Christmas money. Meaning they are looking for options online, for example if you have received not quite what you wanted for Christmas, or are looking for accessories for a new gadget.

Sales – Boxing Day and end-of-December sales are often one of the things that prompt some buyers. Everyone likes a really good end of season bargain and something that a large number of large brands tends to do out of tradition and the number of potential buyers around this time that typically aren’t at work.

Boredom Searchers – Let’s face it, there are some people that my be a little bit of a scrooge at Christmas, or may end up getting into the first or second day of the break and getting a little bored. If you are predominantly work focused or a constantly thinking ahead, chances are you’re already planning for 2015, why waste this week away from the office? This is the same for personal searches; some people may be using a tablet or device to pass the time, which would most probably prompt a casual Google search for services or products.

Typical Trends

A good tool for giving you a fair insight into search patterns historically is Google Trends, this gives you the opportunity to look into your services or products to see how they perform. As discussed earlier, we’ve suggested a random assortment of key terms to indicate the search traffic around December, although there are thousands of possible terms we could have used the below sample can represent a mix of popular products.

Trends Iphone Case2

Here is a graph for “iPhone cases” a relatively low cost accessory for a popular brand smartphone. Christmas and Boxing Day show a massive increase in searches, supporting the argument that people are looking to spend more money that could relate to a recent Xmas Present.

Trends Clothes

Above is a chart representing “Clothing” although an umbrella term, this is a popular term throughout December as well as being popular on Christmas Day, as these can be both a gift for someone as well as an item that someone is purchasing for themselves.

Trends Xbox Games

This graph for “Xbox games” indicates a similar trend, showing a consistent search for the beginning of December – possibly as gifts, followed by Boxing Day searches.

Trends Sales

As discussed previously, people like a bargain and Christmas time often gives a little extra cash to individuals, the graph show the trend for people looking for “Sales”, indicating that this is something that people will be expecting to find online.

In summary

The statistics and reports shown are only one small sample, but hopefully can give an overall impression of how December may impact your website. With increasing ways and channels that consumers can look for products now maybe it’s time to get your webs presence in order. Although every website and industry may be different, hopefully it has given some food for thought into planning a sales strategy for the month of December. In our next post we will be looking into ways you can capitalise on this chaotic search period.

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