Google search is the new Ouija board — for predicting holiday presents

With seemingly 3,000 shopping days still left before Christmas, many of us apparently have already given a lot of thought to what we’ll be sticking under the tree this year.

Thanks to the search-trend gurus over at Google, we can literally peek into the future and get an intriguing glimpse of the kinds of Web searches that gift-givers have been typing into the Google search bar.

First the news: According to a post on Google Commerce, mobile shopping will also be bigger than ever before, as smartphone users comparison-shop, watch video product pitches and check out product availability at other stores, all while standing in the check-out line at the mall:

With more and more retailers offering holiday deals earlier in the season, the excitement about Black Friday is no longer confined to a single day. Now it’s more like a month-long event. As a result, one in five shoppers plan to head to stores on Thanksgiving Day to capitalize on Black Friday deals. To get a read on the trends heading into Black Friday, we took the temperature of holiday shopping online. We looked at search trends on Google, insights from Google Consumer Surveys and top trending purchases on our same-day delivery service, Google Express.

The post makes is abundantly clear just how much of a force mobile shopping has become during retails’s busiest time of the year:

As smartphone shoppers hunt for deals during snackable moments throughout their day, this holiday season will likely be the most mobile ever. Shopping searches on Google coming from smartphones have increased 3.5x year over year and continue to grow. And we’re currently sending more mobile traffic to retailers per week from Google Shopping than we did during the peak of last holiday season.

The smartphone has become the most powerful shopping assistant while consumers are out and about, helping us read customer reviews, watch product demos and find other retailers with product in stock nearby. So it’s no surprise that the top spending days in 2013 for in-store sales are also the days we saw the biggest spikes in shopping searches on mobile devices. This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphone while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25–34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store. To help these shoppers research products more easily this holiday weekend, we rolled out new mobile features to Google Shopping such as 360-degree imagery and more detailed product information.

But perhaps the most interesting data from Google is its search-trend updates for the holiday. It’s almost as if we can all SEE what everyone else is about to buy this year even before they buy it:

To get a sense of the hottest gifts likely to sell out this season, we used Google Trends to identify the top trending toys, devices and apparel searches on Google Shopping.

  • Game consoles and tablets continue to be the top gifts trending on Google Shopping, but wearable technology such as the “fitbit” is also on the rise this month.

  • Certain retro toys are making a comeback this season. Thanks to the new movie “Ouija,” searches for “Ouija boards” are up 300% since October. And queries for “Barbie Dream House” and “My Little Pony” are up as well compared to last month. 6

  • Cold-weather staples, such as “Hunter boots” and “Canada Goose jackets,” are among the most popular apparel searches, up 46% and 140%, respectively, since October. But “jogger pants” are the newcomer gift this season, up 39% from October.

 

 

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