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COVID-19 insights & trends (July 21 edition)

As consumers remain home, search has grown in increasing importance. It helps brands stay connected with consumers and highlights new and emerging behavior trends. Our goal is to continue to provide you with new and updated trends on a regular basis as you adjust to the ongoing changes in search behavior.

Holiday prep for smartphones, hardware, and software 

It can be hard to believe that we’re now more than halfway through the year. For smartphone manufacturers this means their respective events are right around the corner where they will announce their new phones. These events usually take place in fall, where major players in the space unveil their latest and greatest in mobile tech. Anticipation is particularly high this year with the expected integration of 5G into many products. But wait, there’s more: according to MarketWatch it’s estimated that 1/3 of iPhones used globally are in their ‘upgrade window.’ These upcoming sales will be contributing to the overall US forecast for 2020 that’s between 138-153M units sold.

Expanding beyond just smartphones, we’ve seen an increase in search volume for both hardware and software since the beginning of COVID. This goes hand in hand with the increased usage of technology in everyday life as we established new routines from home that relied heavily on platforms and devices. As manufacturers and retailers’ prep for the upcoming shopping season, we can expect to see the trend of elevated search volume continue. Right now, it’s projected that hardware search traffic could rise as much as 83% higher than last year’s holiday season. This projection is inclusive of both brand and non-brand traffic, giving plenty of room for online advertisers across the board to connect with their customers.

Another related trend to be aware of in preparation for the holiday season is how consumers will likely be shopping this year. According to a recent study by Voxware, 76% of respondents say they intend to purchase more than half of their gifts online. Additionally, just over half of them also noted that they will be shipping gifts directly to their friends and family, which is an increase from last year. This brings us full circle to reiterate our greater reliance on technology, both hardware and software, to go about our daily lives during the pandemic.

To get the most of your online advertising budgets this season, we recommend layering on audience targeting to your campaigns. In the past, this has shown to increase click through rate (CTR) by as much as 20% for the hardware/software audience. Additionally, we’d suggest monitoring cost per click (CPC) metrics, which across many verticals have been lower than normal which means there’s an opportunity to get clicks at a discount. For a more in depth look at trends and insights, check out all the resources at

Source: Tech & Telco holiday insights (U.S.) NEW

Search trend & behavior changes during COVID-19

Financial Services

Health & Wellness


Tech & Telco


For these and many other weekly-updated insights, please bookmark our COVID-19 insights and resources for advertisers hub and subscribe to the Microsoft Advertising Insider newsletter to receive blog updates automatically. If you’d prefer to listen instead, follow our Insights with Microsoft podcast series on AppleGoogle and Spotify. Curious about strategies and recommendations? Read our digital advertiser’s guide to COVID-19. For insights on Marketing with Purpose, which explores building loyalty and creating business value through an expanded view on trust paved with empathy, inclusivity and knowing your brand’s purpose, bookmark our curated hub.