Recession influences search trends

Britons are demonstrating increasingly frugal and security-conscious habits when it comes to what they're searching for online, according to figures released by Google.

For example, it said searches for home safes were up 150 per cent over their levels in October 2007. And perhaps less surprising - but all the more stark in terms of increased popularity - searches for safe savings were up 900 per cent.

Money dominated the major areas where people were looking more and more to the internet for guidance, where searches for petrol prices were up 200 per cent over last year and searches for negative equity rose 220 per cent. Searches for redundancy insurance were also up 450 per cent year-on-year.

In efforts to economise, people were also searching for vouchers 35 per cent more this year than last, as well as budget meals, which have grown in terms of search frequency by 53 per cent. Taking up sewing classes was up 60 per cent and clothes swap searches were up 90 per cent.

In the meantime, the desire to find a city break dropped almost 20 per cent, while searching for a home in Spain was down 28 per cent Fitted kitchen research dropped 17 per cent and interest in moving home fell by 16 per cent.

The data was taken from Insights for Search, a free tool that the firm said it uses to analyse a portion of Google searches entered for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches carried out through Google over time.

Elan Dekel, Google product manager, said the analysis provided a snapshot into how Britons are reacting to the current economic situation.

"Every day, hundreds of millions of people search on Google, so we can see trends emerge in real time. What people are searching for gives insights into the zeitgeist, what people are interested in and what concerns them," he said.

Dekel added that anyone can use the data to learn more about past and current trends and break down search data by geography and category.

The Insights for Search tool can be found here.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.