In addition to the extended shopping cycle and increased online research, we've also found that purchases were concentrated around key promotional periods such as the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, last minute, and post-holiday time periods.

Taking a look at when consumers completed the majority of their purchasing in the graph below, we find that almost one quarter of consumers completed the majority of their purchasing over the 4-day Thanksgiving Weekend (Black Friday - Cyber Monday), while another 14% completed the majority of their purchasing at the last minute.
Likewise, though few completed the majority of their purchasing during the post-holiday season, 64% of consumers did shop during this period.

What's driving the concentrated shopping around these time periods? When asked, consumers said they were taking advantage of sales, making additional purchases for themselves and others, and shop for upcoming occasions.
With record e-commerce sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and 44% of consumers identifying promotions as a key driver of their shopping decisions, consumers have remained deal-seekers through the end of 2009 and into 2010.

Headed into Mother's Day, Father's Day, and graduation seasons, ensure you are attracting the price conscious consumer through your marketing efforts.

Source: Google/OTX Post-Holiday Consumer Study, January 2010. Q3 [1] And, when did you do the majority of your holiday purchasing? n=1850. [2] Q1 Which of the following retail (non-grocery) purchases, if any, do you plan to make this week? n=2757 [3] Q7 For which of the following reasons did you shop after Christmas/Holiday Season (during post-holiday sales or markdowns) or are you still doing your Holiday shopping? Select all that apply. n=819.

In late 2009, the Enterprise team here at Google launched a new tool, Google Commerce Search, to help online retailers improve site usability and raise conversions. We're excited to see results and metrics coming in that show the impact this new product is having. One company,, decided to switch to Google Commerce Search from a sluggish homegrown solution and almost immediately saw sizable lifts in revenue, traffic, transactions, and average order size.

Tim Horton, CEO, will join Nitin Mangtani, Senior Product Manager at Google Enterprise on a live webcast Thursday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST to share his experience and answer questions about their decision to switch to Google Commerce Search.

You can read more from Tim Horton on the Enterprise blog. Event details:

How Discount Office Items Increased Revenue 6% by Switching to Google Commerce Search
Thursday, March 4, 2010
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

We hope you'll join us for this live event!

With the 2010 Olympic Games well under way, the action is not only taking place on the skating rinks and ski slopes of Vancouver, but also online. Compared to the Torino winter games of 2006, global searches for "olympics" have nearly doubled at its peak.

In the shopping category, top rising searches have focused on Olympic apparel items such as hats and mittens and the official Olympic apparel providers. Hudson's Bay Company, the official 2010 Olympic store, and Ralph Lauren, who outfitted the US athletes during the opening ceremonies, have also seen impressive increases.

If you provide Olympic apparel items or complementary products, ensure that your ad texts and keywords reflect this.

And, for more Olympics coverage from Google please visit

What other consumer trends should we keep an eye on in 2010? The lengthening shopping cycle we discussed last week hinted at the increasing importance of research as a trend to watch.

Taking a look at category level research trends from the 2009 holiday shopping season, we found that consumers begin researching far in advance of all retail purchases. Consumers are especially cognisant when it comes to electronics, appliance and furnishing purchases.

And, with the increased search volume in the electronics, appliance, and furnishing categories, much of this research will take place online.

Be sure to "stay on" as consumers not only research far in advance but research increasingly online for upcoming seasonal purchases.

Source: Google/OTX Post-Holiday Consumer Study, January 2010. Q1A Listed below are the products or services you mentioned you purchased this Holiday Season. How long prior to making this/these purchase(s) did you research it/them, if at all? (Select one for each.) Mean summary. n=1850.

Fore score, and seven years ago, President's Day was an opportunity to honor our former presidents. These days, in addition to honoring our forefathers, many are thanking them for our freedom to shop.

Savvy shoppers are looking for deals this President's Day, and they are turning to the internet for help. This year, internet traffic on 'president's day sales' is trending well above last year's traffic.

President's Day has become synonymous with sales, especially in the furniture and auto industry. However, shoppers are looking for an excuse to find a good deal in any industry, so make sure your ads reflect current promotions, and that your budgets are optimized to capture additional traffic.

I'm sure our nation's leaders would want you all to take this opportunity to capture online shoppers. Happy President's Day!

Either they know exactly what to buy, or men are completely unprepared for Valentine's Day this year. Women are frantically searching on terms like 'valentine's day gifts for men,' 'gifts for husband,' and 'gifts for boyfriends,' but men don't seem to be too worried. Ladies - take note, and tell your boyfriends and husbands to get moving! Better yet, tell them what you want, because time is running out and the men don't seem to mind!

Interestingly, searches are highest for 'gifts for boyfriend,' with 'gifts for girlfriend' a very distant second, both trending well above gifts for husbands and wives. Is this because dating couples need ideas for a new boyfriend or girlfriend, or do married couples know exactly what to give each other? In either instance, keep in mind that women are 'out searching' men in their quest for the perfect gift, especially if they are still dating. For future holidays, keep this in mind, and tailor your ads and sites to women looking for gift ideas.

If we take a look at rising searches related to Valentine's Day gifts, we see this theme continue, with four of the top ten searches relating to men's gifts.

In all fairness, with Valentine's Day Flowers topping the list, it appears that woman will be receiving flowers -- but if you're anything like me, you were hoping for something shiny. Hopefully men get the hint, and we'll see a more balanced list next year. Happy Valentine's Day to all!

The online holiday shopping season was a season of historic highs: $29 billion in online sales, the first $900M day in e-commerce history, 20% growth in Black Friday searches, and an even more impressive 60% growth in Cyber Monday searches.

How did this historic online growth translate at the consumer level? Throughout the holiday season we tracked consumer research and purchase behavior and the results revealed a trend to watch in 2010: Consumers start early and end late.

In fact, by the end of August 2009, almost half of holiday shoppers had begun shopping and over a third had started purchasing. That's a full 4 months prior to the holidays. On the other end of the spectrum, just 5 days prior to Christmas, many had yet to begin shopping or purchasing.

Though we ended up with plenty of presents under our tree despite the last minute push, this data reveals that the shopping cycle is longer than expected with a large portion of shoppers researching far in advance but remaining more comfortable waiting until the last minute to finish up.

The lengthy shopping cycle will be important to keep in mind when planning your online media for upcoming holidays, such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.

Source: Google/OTX Consumer Pulse Check, 8/09-12/09. Base: Those who plan to shop/research or purchase this holiday season (Nearly 9 out of 10 plan to shop/research or purchase.) [1] Have you started your 2009 Holiday shopping/researching? [2] Have you started your 2009 Holiday purchasing?

Though the championship title is still up for grabs, it looks like fans have declared the New Orleans Saints the winner of the 'Search Superbowl.' Over the last seven days, web search interest in both the Saints and the Colts has increased tremendously. In fact, users have been searching for information on the Saints at about twice the rate of searches for the Colts. For retailers marketing Super Bowl paraphernalia and complementary products, please take note!

Louisiana fans seem especially revved up for today's big game. Louisiana had the most searches for 'Superbowl,' followed by Vermont, then Indiana.

Even though they're not searching at quite the rate of Saints fans, Indiana is still loyal to their NFL team. Over the last thirty days, the top ten searches in Indiana have included 'Colts' or football specific terms.

So will search patterns predict the big winner of today's game? Only time will tell but we will certainly be watching!

Mothers today seek reliable information to make the best decisions and purchases they can for their families. Increasingly, they’re seeking this information through digital channels. This behavior provides an opportunity for marketers to reach moms in contextually relevant environments. Are you adapting your online strategies to target moms?

Google, in partnership with BabyCenter®, the leading global online parenting resource, explored how you, as marketers across industries, can empower mothers through online channels. The insights will help you best utilize the Internet and search in your marketing programs targeting moms.

We hope you will join us Tuesday, February 9, 2010 12:00 pm PST / 3:00 pm EST.

The webinar will spotlight two pieces of research:
  • BabyCenter’s 21st Century Mom™ Report: A comprehensive look into the hearts and minds of the modern mom
  • Google’s The Four Truths About Moms & Search: How and why moms search
Register here.