What’s Captifying the World: Wholesaler Costco steals share of search from traditional holiday retailers

We’ve now entered the golden quarter of retail – Black Friday and the Holiday season. Consumers would be usually scouring the web, hunting down the best deals and gifts for their friends and family.

The holiday season this year looks very different. With uncertainty around the Presidential Election last week and rising COVID-19 cases across the globe, Captify’s Search Intelligence is seeing the start of a second wave of stockpiling – with consumers bulk buying everyday essentials and discretionary items.

Captify analyzed searches across the web over the past five weeks to understand how evolving purchase habits and consumer behaviors are impacting US retailers’ share of search, right now.

With COVID-19 causing safety concerns and stock issues, the assumption is consumers would shop predominantly online. Instead, Captify reveals that shoppers are still relying on brick-and-mortar stores – with Costco accounting for a huge 66% share of search of retailer searches over the past 5 weeks. Interestingly, Amazon accounts for just 7% share of search despite Prime Day falling in October this year.

Retailer share of search (Data sourced from Captify’s US network from 10/01/20 to 11/05/20):

  1. Costco – 66%
  2. Walmart – 9%
  3. Amazon – 7%
  4. JC Penney – 6%
  5. Home Depot – 5%
  6. Best Buy – 3%
  7. Target – 3%
  8. Macy’s – 1%

Interestingly, there’s a direct correlation between a surge in searches for Costco (up 180%) and rising COVID-19 cases (hitting 99.7k a day). Costco’s search uplift also closely coincides with the retailer commencing its big holiday deals across November, as well as the recent announcement of its net sales growing over 15% YoY to $13.82 billion.

In contrast – Costco’s direct competitor, Walmart, also kicked off its Black Friday deals this week, but only saw a 25% search increase over the same period.

Brands need to rely on fresh and dynamic data to monitor changes in purchase habits and to understand which retailers are the ‘flavour of the month’ (e.g. dominating share of search in their vertical). Brands can use this data to influence their next marketing move and seize opportunities for conquesting competitors.

To understand how these changing behaviors might impact your brand’s share of search, get in touch.

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