An In-Depth Analysis of Retail Brands’ Search, Views & Conversion Trends in H1 2022

Knowing that most retail customers leverage Google to facilitate their initial shopping journey with retail brands, how can you drive more potential customers from an online search to an in-store sale?

In this whitepaper, Rio SEO and Forsta analyzed local search data for over 64,000 U.S. business locations of 66 different U.S. enterprise retailers throughout the first half of 2022.

Below we’ll share a few key takeaways from our research. Download the full report for more in-depth exploration and analysis of trends in local search behavior that can help give your own brand’s analytics data important context and color.


Watch the Companion Webinar

Grab your seat and join us as we share the most impactful findings from our Retail H1 Google Business Profile Search Insights whitepaper. Together, Rio SEO and Forsta analyzed local search data for over 64,000 U.S. business locations of 66 different U.S. enterprise retailers throughout the first half of 2022, tracking Google Business profile search, views, and conversion trends.

Duration: 45 – 60 minutes


Local Searches & Listing Views

Local searches fell in Q1 2022 following the holidays, in keeping with regular seasonal trends. April ushered in a rebound as retail sales in the U.S. rose 0.9% despite universally climbing prices for goods. Searches and retail listing views tend to trend close together, while conversion rates tend to have different stories to tell.

In evaluating your own locations’ Google Business Profile insights, it’s important to remember that a wide range of factors may be in play,

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Local Search Conversion Trends

Total clicks reflect the volume of all conversion actions tracked in Google Business Profile insights: Clicks for directions, to the website, and to call the location. Unsurprisingly, conversions from search dropped after the holidays, reaching a low in February. Clicks for directions have grown throughout H1 as consumers are willing to return to in-store shopping experiences in greater numbers. Clicks to the website and
clicks to call, however, have remained relatively stable and trended together.

Whether consumers are looking to visit your website, call the store, or go directly to it, your brand must deliver a seamless experience from search to their next step.

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Retail Search Trends – January

Let’s explore how local consumer search behavior trended by month through the first half of 2022.

The sharp decline in local marketing metrics for retail was in line with typical seasonal trends. After a holiday season in which prices were up and products were in short supply, Omicron settled in to once again disrupt the retail sector. The biggest sales gains made in January were by non-store retailers (14.5%), furniture stores (7.2%), and auto dealers (5.9%).

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Retail Search Trends – February

Rising inflation wreaked havoc on an already stressed retail industry.

Every metric tracked in our Google Business Profiles analysis trended downward from January to February, with the greatest losses in conversion actions such as clicks to call and clicks to the website. Local consumers searched less often for retail products and stores, with total searches down 20.4% and views losing 17.2%.

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Retail Search Trends – March

All local search and conversion actions we tracked were down YoY compared to March 2021 except total local search views, which rose only slightly at 1.5%. Clicks to visit websites and call retail locations were down substantially as more stores were open, hours were more predictable, and consumers were more comfortable simply heading to the store.

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Retail Search Trends – April

Consumers’ interest in retail shopping grew month-over-month in April over March, with average gains in all local search metrics tracked.

Searches grew year-over-year, as well. The informational needs that drove phone calls and clicks to retailers’ websites in 2021 were reduced, as reflected in clicks to call and to website falling 15.1% and 12.1%, respectively.

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Retail Search Trends – May

Total search views trended high in May, with a 7% increase over the month prior (up 20.2% YoY). This was great news for retailers with a robust local online presence.

Clicks for directions rose 13.2% in May, showing that consumers were browsing and looking to make their way back into stores, as well. Despite this increase in search activity, U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.3% from April, the first decline this year

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Retail Search Trends – June

CNBC reported at the time that consumer spending held up during June’s surge of inflation, with retail sales rising slightly more than expected amid higher prices across most categories.

Retail brands experienced a decline in most local search metrics in June, except for a 1.4% increase in clicks for directions. Total views were up substantially YoY (24.8%). Total searches and clicks for directions rose less than 10% each. However, total clicks (indicating conversions)
fell 4.3% MoM and 1.9% YoY.

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Looking Ahead

Of course, you cannot fit all this information in each location’s description. Make good use of Google Business Profile retail attributes and  all available fields to give searchers a comprehensive, engaging experience on your local store profiles. Experts anticipate an early start to the shopping season this year; in fact, it may already have started. Google research shows that 31% of U.S. shoppers had already started their 2021 holiday shopping in June last year – and 37% of those who waited now say they wish they’d started sooner.

Plan to feature offers and deals on your brand’s local landing pages and in Google Posts at a regular cadence from now to the end of the year. Ninety-three percent of shoppers use a coupon or discount code throughout the year. Having a strategy in place for removing outdated offers can help prevent confusion and ensure that searchers can easily locate your most recent, relevant offers.

To dive deeper into the insights we discovered, download the full whitepaper and save your seat for the companion webinar where our team will break down the study’s top findings and insights for multi-location brands.

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Is your local strategy in need of a tune-up?

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