Google Rising Retail Categories

Retail trend hunters have a new way to learn what categories people are searching during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to a new interactive tool released by Google on Thursday.

According to the search giant, Rising Retail Categories homes in on the top product searches to help retailers make data-driven business decisions. The project comes from Think With Google, the tech company’s trend-focused data team.

“Since COVID-19 began, we’ve heard from our retail and brand manufacturing partners that they’re hungry for more insights on how consumer interests are changing, given fluctuations in consumer demand,” product manager Pallavi Naresh wrote on the search giant’s blog. “We see these changes reflected in how people are searching on Google.”

The tool features a list of the search engine’s fastest-growing, retail-related search categories by state or across the country, as well as the top queries in each category. The data is updated daily, and a drop-down tool lets users view results by week, month or year.

Rising Retail Categories marks a first for the company, which has never offered this kind of insight on product category searches.

For example, what trended in the U.S. last month, according to Google, was outdoor fare, such as swimming pools and gear, golf bag accessories, water parks and slides and other related merchandise, in addition to safety-minded queries, like neck gaiters and sneeze guards.

The company previewed the data with an early group of businesses, which started riffing on ideas of how to use the information.

Naresh mentioned an apparel company with a nimble production model that wanted to use the trend data to create new products. Another jewelry and accessories firm saw that the “free weights” category was popular and considered partnering with fitness influencers for that theme.

Rising Retail Categories kicks off with the U.S., where it’s available broadly starting Thursday, with an international rollout planned for the coming weeks.