Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for new ways to engage with customers or a seasoned marketer building a brand from scratch, online Search is an important indicator of consumer intent.
After all, Pakistanis expect the internet to play many different roles: personal entertainer, restaurant guide, product research assistant, and all-around source of truth.
Just like Google’s annual Year in Search captures the collective trending searches and sheds light on what captured people’s curiosity, Google’s Insights for Brands for Pakistan report sheds light on the major trends being driven by online demographics across the country. At the same time, businesses are seeking to understand how the COVID-19 environment is changing behaviours and trends within their respective categories and how best to respond in the moments that matter most.
“Pakistanis and their smartphones are inseparable — always on the lookout for the best experiences and deals within their vicinity and at the same time seeking authoritative information during these trying times,” said Faraz Azhar, Industry Head for South Asia, Google Asia Pacific. “Our research found rising levels of consumer sophistication, interest in more sustainable products and services, and a move towards a healthier lifestyle as some of the biggest drivers of behavior in the last 12 months. Also, digital video continues to boom with local content on YouTube representing Pakistan’s favorite online destination.”
In the newly released report, Google outlined five key trends that are shaping how Pakistanis search as well as their curiosity on the impact of reduced human mobility on the environment:
Increasingly sophisticated consumers
Consumers expect Search to understand the intent behind what they need and deliver the best, most helpful answers. They want high-quality products that are available with a convenient digital experience. 4 in 5 Pakistani consumers research products online before a purchase, and they switch between online search and video. They also want quick access to products and services: 138% growth in “near me” searches and 1.5X increase in “same-day delivery” queries between 2018 to 2019. ‘Fast delivery’ searches increased by 1300% and online grocery delivery searches increased by 300% when the pandemic began.
Towards sustainability and conscious consumption
A combination of the state of the world and an overall rise in awareness has seen the rise of the environmentally-conscious consumer. Over a one year period these searches have risen sharply across Pakistan: “climate change” by 1.5X, “electric cars” by 1.5X, “reusable” by 1.3X and “cimate change” by 1.5X. Users were also curious about the visible impact on air quality and pollution levels, with searches for ‘clear skies’ increasing by 300%; ‘clean air’ by 225%; and ‘clear water’ by 217%.
Digital video continues to boom
Video streaming and sharing platforms are where Pakistanis get their fix of information, entertainment, news, and sports. The primary drivers are a combination of affordable data combined with the proliferation of devices and new platforms. 7 in 10 Pakistanis use YouTube every month, with searches related to “with me” increasing 150%, “teeli” by 108% and “vilage food secrets” by 168%.
The healthy lifestyle choice
While Pakistan has a rich and diverse culinary tradition, there has been a rise in searches for alternate diets and meal plans predicated around well-being. Searches for “daily exercise” are up to 1.6X. Searches for “vegetarian cuisine”, “healthy supplements” and “intermittent fasting” have risen 1.5X. Meanwhile searches for “superfood” are up by a whopping 767% and “HIIT” by 600%.
With COVID-19 restricting the movement of people outdoors, Pakistanis have started looking for ways to start (or continue) their usual physical routines indoors with ‘HIIT workout’ YouTube searches growing by 600%, ‘gym at home’ by 125%, and ‘home workouts’ by 80%. With more people confined indoors, interest in mental health and well-being has also become an important factor for Pakistanis, with a surge in searches for ‘meditation’ (+56%) in March this year.
For more insights on how Pakistani consumers use Google Search, along with some vertical insights on fintech, on-demand economy, telecom, gaming, and sports, visit Think with Google and download the Insights for Brands report.