Popular in the pandemic – Google searches analysed

What analysts and marketers like about the internet is that everything is measurable – as pointless as it may be in many cases. Yet there is a bunch of internet stats that are helpful or at least entertaining. The latter is in my view a website that analysed Google searches and looked at how popular product search terms were in the pandemic.

For the printing industry most categories are of limited interest as mostly consumer goods made it to the searched item roster. Keywords and categories were sourced from Google product taxonomy. Results are restricted to searches on Google Shopping in the US only. The analysis ranked products and their search terms into three groups.

New Normal were termed the keywords for which the 2020 and 2021 search interest patterns differ from 2019 – which is essentially a continued higher interest since the pandemic. Card games are a great example of a continued higher interest since the pandemic. All items around the home office benefited too, including printers and scanners. Interesting Fax machines made it to the list as well, indicating that savvy Google shoppers still have an interest in faxing.

Searches for "Card Games" Unusual keywords were those that exhibited a different search interest pattern in 2020 compared to 2019 and 2021, for example a sudden spike in interest, followed by “normal” search patterns. Jigsaw puzzles is a prime example for this category. Searches did only see a sharp spike at the begin of the pandemic with interest normalising again. Toilet paper is another item in this category, with searches normalising (thank god) after a sudden spike.

Searches for "Jigsaw puzzles"

Normal keywords were those for which the yearly pattern of search interest was similar across 2019, 2020, and 2021. In the not affected category fall for example calendars – which seem to spike every year in early winter. I probably would have guessed this anyway.

Searches for "Calendars"

You can give it a try and see here how products were doing and what was popular in the pandemic and what not.

European print production 2021 – Chart of the week

Starting into the new year is a good time to have a look at the European print production developments in 2021. For the full revenue data to trickle in we have to wait several months – even for the first countries to report. The full data on Eurostat might be even two years out as Eurostat just about managed to publish 2019 revenues now.

The next best thing is to look at the monthly production index data published by Eurostat. Data is now available until October 2021. The best fitting category in the database is “print and reproduction of media” – with print production making up the lions share in that category. The data is based on the average 2015 volumes as being 100 index points. Starting values in the 90s for 2019 shows that print production volumes already declined before the pandemic hit in early 2020.

Print production index data

Is print getting its fair share in advertising?

Ever wondered why advertising spending in print publications declined so rapidly and how much further this could go on? Or when is print getting its fair share in advertising? Interesting research from WARC/GWI compares advertising spend against media consumption. An index value above 100 shows that the advertising spending share is higher than the media consumption share, while a value below 100 indicates the opposite. In other words: print press had an advertising share three times its share of media consumption in 2013.

Reading printed books is good for you – and your grades – Chart of the week

In the light of distance learning during the pandemic and the move towards digital media in schools there is probably not enough of a discussion on how reading printed books is impacting learning, the joy of reading and consequently the grades. The OECD in sifting through the 2018 PISA study results on school performance published their “21st-Century Readers” report this year, with some interesting findings.

Average time spent reading e-mails – chart of the week

If you sent out e-mails you better come up with something to be read quickly. Litmus, describing itself as a leader in email marketing and analytics, published a report titled “State of Email Engagement” in which the average time spent reading an e-mail is only 10 seconds. This is down by 15% compared to the year before. In contrast to 2018 it is even 25% less time.

Average time spent reading e-mails
Average time spent reading e-mails