2018: The most interesting consumer insights for 2019

Posted on January 8, 2019

Ken Wheaton, editor of Think With Google, states: “knowing the consumer is one of the main pillars of any successful marketing organization”. And this in fact is one of the cornerstones of the company’s tool.

Think With Google published a series of articles focused on the consumer insights in 2018, which Wheaton gathers, highlights and presents in one of his pieces as a list of key concepts to carry into the new year:



84% of Americans are shopping for something at any given time in up to six different categories. And in nearly one quarter of those shopping occasions, customers say they turn to their smartphones first.

Shopping across several different categories can be overwhelming for people. In other words, they are going to need as much help as possible, providing brands with the opportunity to enter into consideration from the beginning. Almost 9 out of 10 shoppers are not absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they start looking for information online through their smartphones, being it a great opportunity for retailers to make the research process as easy as possible. That means being present and useful along the shoppers’ way.



People are using more conversational search queries, which allow them to make well focused, specific and personally relevant questions about the products and services they’re interested in. This not only allows them to avoid the clutter, getting faster and more effective answers, but it also provides them with the confidence to know that they’re getting exactly what they need.

Just like when they talk to a person, people are starting to use “I” in their searches. Searches for “I need” have grown more than 65%, in examples such as “how much paint do I need” or “how much time do I need to retire”, among others.

Marketers should dismiss the words and phrases traditionally associated with their businesses and consider natural language search phrases that shoppers might use to find them.



Whether it’s a spice jar or a restaurant, impatient consumers want to obtain things in the moment they need them (which is generally “now”).

Even “near me” searches aren’t just about finding a specific place anymore. A “near me” search is many times intended to find a specific item, in a specific area, and a specific period of time.

If we look for a clear example of purchase intent, we should consider this:

  1. “Near me” mobile searches containing the variants “can I buy” or “buy” have grown more than 500% in the last two years.
  2. These include things such as “where can I buy stamps near me”, “places to buy uniforms near me”, or “where to buy vinyl records near me”.
  3. A 200% growth has also been seen in mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me” (for example, “restaurants open now near me” or “shops open near me now”).



Search isn’t just about buying things. People also look for experiences. Whether it is taking a vacation or going out for dinner, people research for experiences before going out the door.

The research process becomes part of the experience itself, helping them anticipate even before stepping into the store. Working on the details beforehand (prices, maps, schedules) reduces the anxiety and gives people more time to enjoy once they get there. Google spoke to a person who recapped it in one simple and powerful statement: “I wanted to research in advance, so I wouldn’t regret later on”.



Sometimes shoppers have to face the reality that what they want is out of their price range. But research-obsessed consumers of today don’t let price interfere in their way to happiness. They realize they have the tools to find something similar to that aspirational product, in a more practical and cheaper way.

Mobile searches for look-alikes have grown more than 60% in the last two years. For example, “cheap tile that looks like wood”, “Honda that looks like Ferrari”, “furniture that looks like pottery barn”, “rock that look like diamond” and “new furniture that looks like antiques” might be some of the searches done by people who are interested in finding more affordable items for their needs.



Voice-Activated Speakers were a holiday theme last year and gained popularity even before the Christmas Season. That’s why Google surveyed more than 1500 people who own Google Home or Amazon Echo voice-activated speakers. Among the findings, it turned out that older people are advanced users of them and that the Boomers see these devices as empowering partners with strong potential.

It is important for retailers that voiced-activated speaker users also welcome the brands as part of the experience. And that they’d be open to receive helpful and relevant information for their lifestyles. In fact, one respondent said that the possibility of buying things in that way made him feel as if he had a real-life assistant. “I went from asking questions to being sent real products. Much more involved, much more real”, he said.