Google Insights for Search is not only a great tool for understanding search term volumes, but also for understanding where the economy is going. And if you compare the search volume for the keyword “gift” to years past, the trends suggest internet retailers may be in for a slower holiday season:
When overlaying years on top of each other, GIS does not appear to scale the years to January 1 or anything like that – some keyword trends that are zooming up are reflected in the years clearly showing up above each other in progression, and some that are dropping also show years appearing successively below each other (try “dial-up internet” for a good example). The term “gift”, which one would think would be representative of holiday sales, has been below previous years in the last week or so.
Brand terms of diamond retailers with significant sales volume, like “Blue Nile” and “Tiffany” also have lower search volume on Google recently than in the last several years, as does the perennially popular Christmas gift term “digital camera”.
If you project the blue line for “gift” forward, it suggests searches for this term in 2009 could potentially come in significantly below 2008′s volume (on the order of 5-10%). It will be interesting to see what these graphs look like after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.