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End-of-Year Sales & Search Trends for Sellers: Demand Signals for 2024

Insights
Ahmed Sanda
Published
January 17, 2024
Modified
January 29, 2024

As we navigate 2024, Amazon's search term dynamics undergo a notable transformation, offering a valuable glimpse into shifting consumer behaviors. This period signifies more than a change in the calendar; it's a time when consumer interests, aspirations, and purchase patterns take a noticeable turn. Sellers can take this opportunity to find products to sell in 2024.

Amazon's search term popularity during this transitional phase—spanning from the final moments of the old year to the emergence of the new—reflects evolving consumer preferences. These search trends serve as a significant indicator, showcasing the specific products, themes, and categories that capture the attention and spending of shoppers during this critical period.

At Threecolts, we are building the most comprehensive online marketplace management platform, and we believe it’s our responsibility to empower our partners with crucial information to aid their decision-making. 

Key Findings

  1. A 21% YoY1 increase in digital video download searches highlights that digital media transition is in full swing: Notably, there was a substantial increase in interest in digital video downloads as the New Year approached, suggesting a potential shift in consumer preferences from physical to digital content. This is likely fueled by department stores moving away from stocking physical media and rising interest in video gaming consoles and immersive Virtual Reality experiences. Amazon users are shifting to digital media at an increasing pace. Sellers should shift their inventory to digital media licenses and only stock limited edition physical media in line with Amazon search trends. 
  2. Self-help and kids’ books lead the Books category New Year charge: This analysis highlights the seasonal appeal for self-help and kids’ books during the New Year shopping phase. This offers strategic opportunities for sellers targeting these periods. Additionally, the sustained interest in non-fiction books such as “The 48 Laws of Power”  implies non-fiction books sell well in the new year and highlights the potential for targeted marketing strategies to capitalize on such trends (See Appendix for Top Searched Books). Sellers launching new titles should capitalize on increased interest and traffic during this period.
  3. Video game searches are converting at a 30%  higher rate YoY: PlayStation and Xbox sustained interest and increased conversions, while Nintendo Switch faced challenges indicative of a matured product lifecycle; however, it is rumored a new Nintendo system is likely to release this year. VR systems experienced a surge in interest during the festive season, marked by the release of new hardware (Meta Quest 3). Sellers can expect continued interest in video games, particularly as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series systems continue to build momentum.

Overview

Amazon's Seller Central, a treasure trove of invaluable insights, grants access to comprehensive search term reports. These reports meticulously catalog the most sought-after products, categories, search criteria, and a suite of metrics vital for understanding consumer behavior. Among the critical metrics examined are Click Share, depicting the percentage of total clicks a product garners for a specific search term within a designated time frame, and Conversion Share, which shows a product's percentage of conversions compared to the overall conversions derived from a specific search term within the same timeframe. Additionally, the Search Frequency Rank metric details the frequency with which a search term or category appears in the report, illuminating the trends and shifts in consumer interest over time.

Delving into these metrics, we found some intriguing trends. Search term frequency surged in the week preceding Christmas in both 2023 & 2024. Despite this, the overall search term volume for the year 2023 exhibited a higher average than its preceding year, although with a more pronounced decline post-Christmas. Interestingly, the search term volume in 2022 remained consistently steady throughout the seasonal period. This nuanced pattern strongly suggests an evolution in shoppers' behavior, signaling a slight but discernible shift towards a more selective approach to New Year's shopping preferences compared to the prior year.

In general, we found that search term frequency peaked the week before Christmas in 2023. Search term volume on average was higher in 2023 than in 2022, but with a steeper decline post Christmas; in 2022, search term volume stayed consistent throughout the period. This trend suggests that shoppers are slightly more selective in New Year's shopping preferences this year vs. in the prior year. 

Amazon Shopping Search Terms Are Up 8% YoY

Search Trends for Top 10 Weekly Searched Categories by Date End of Year 2022 & 2023

2022–2023 Transition

1. Shifts in Search Trends

  • Notably, Apparel experienced a considerable decline of approximately 16%, dropping from 281,423 to 235,943 searches.
  • In contrast, 'Home' saw a relatively minor 2% decrease during the same period, indicating varied consumer interests.

2. Category Fluctuations

  • While some categories experienced fluctuations, others like Home and Beauty maintained consistent search volumes throughout the Christmas and New Year's period.
  • This steadiness suggests sustained relevance in consumers' holiday shopping habits, regardless of seasonal variations.

3. Emerging Trends

  • Books such as "Spare" by Prince Harry and "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" gained traction, signaling changing consumer interests from adult fiction to self-help and nonfiction in the new year.
  • Products like "rosemary oil for hair growth" displayed rising click and conversion rates, suggesting evolving beauty and wellness preferences.

4. Digital Media Consumption

  • Digital Video Downloads were not a top 10 category in the 2022-2023 transition period, but searches increased from 66k to 76k from the week of 2022-12-24 to 2022-12-31, indicating a growing preference for digital media consumption heading into 2023.

2023–2024 Transition

1. Continued Shifts in Search Trends

  • Distinct shifts continued in Amazon's search trends, with consistent interest in items like "Atomic Habits" (Books) and "Strawberries" (Grocery).
  • Digital video downloads moved into the top 10 searched categories for 2024, highlighting the digital media transition.

2. Book Trends

  • Books such as "Atomic Habits" and Bible study guides gained traction, reflecting the desire for self-help and spiritual guidance resources at the turn of the year.
  • Sellers should consider stocking bestselling self-help and spiritual guidance books as people look to forge and rekindle positive habits.

3. Digital Content Preference

  • A noteworthy trend emerged in Digital Video Downloads, with a 12.5% week-over-week increase in searches to 92,708 in the last week of December 2023 (22% YoY increase).
  • This may signify a significant shift from physical to digital content, reflecting evolving entertainment consumption patterns.

4. Gaming Preferences

  • Late 2023 marked a significant turning point in gaming preferences, with the Meta Quest 3 redefining VR experiences and improved stock of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 fueling increased conversions (30% increase YoY) in gaming console sales.
  • These shifts underline the dynamism of consumer interests influenced by technological advancements and gaming content.

Search Volume Trends

The fluctuations observed in search volumes across categories underscore the dynamic nature of consumer preferences during the festive seasons. The substantial decrease in Apparel searches and the subsequent surge in Digital Video Downloads post-Christmas hint at evolving entertainment and consumption habits. The consistent search volumes in categories like Home and Beauty signify their enduring relevance, while the increase in gaming searches highlights an increased interest in gaming and virtual reality experiences.

Overall, these trends reflect the continuous evolution of consumer preferences, shaped by emerging technologies, changing tastes, and evolving entertainment mediums.

Video Games Interest and Conversions Increased 30% YoY in 2024

YoY Video Game Search Term, Click Share, and Conversion Changes

Video Game Trends in 2023: A Year-End Analysis

In the realm of video gaming, the year ending of 2023 exhibited notable shifts in search term trends, with key players like PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Virtual Reality (VR) systems undergoing dynamic changes. The provided table above offers a detailed breakdown of the Year-over-Year (YoY) % growth in search term frequency, click share, and conversion share for each platform during the year-ending period in comparison to 2022.

PlayStation

  • PlayStation searches surged with a YoY increase of 26.4% on 12/23/2023, followed by a gradual decrease in subsequent weeks.
  • Despite the decline in search term frequency, PlayStation maintained a robust conversion share of 68.8% the week of 12/23/2023, indicating strong user engagement and potential interest in blockbuster AAA video game titles like Spiderman 2 and God of War: Ragnarok.

Xbox

  • Xbox experienced a YoY search term increase of 11.1% the week of 12/23/2023, with a gradual decline in subsequent weeks.
  • Similar to PlayStation, Xbox conversions remained relatively stable, demonstrating sustained interest in gaming content during the year-end period.

Nintendo Switch

  • Nintendo Switch, however, faced a different trajectory, with a stagnant search term frequency the week of 12/23/2023, followed by a decline in subsequent weeks.
  • The decreasing search term frequency and lower conversion share suggest potential signs of the console nearing the end of its cycle, exacerbated by a lack of new content and potential market saturation with over 120 million units sold.

Virtual Reality (VR)

  • VR systems witnessed a remarkable surge in search term frequency, notably on 12/23/2023, suggesting heightened interest, possibly driven by Christmas and year-end gift searches, and the recent release of new VR hardware such as the Meta Quest 3 and PlayStation VR2 systems.
  • Despite a decline in conversion share in the following weeks, the overall trend indicates a growing curiosity and exploration of VR systems during the festive season.

Overall, video game searches rose YoY, largely propelled by heightened interest in PlayStation and Xbox. The exceptional increase in conversion share for PlayStation indicates a strong connection between search interest and actual engagement, likely fueled by the anticipation of major gaming releases and Sony’s successful bundling strategy selling consoles with best-selling video games in the box.

In summary, the video game landscape at the close of 2023 showcased a general increase in search frequency, clicks, and conversions. While PlayStation and Xbox sustained interest and steady conversions, Nintendo Switch faced challenges indicative of a matured product lifecycle. VR systems, on the other hand, experienced an end-of-year holiday surge in interest, emphasizing the potential impact of holiday-driven searches. Sellers should expect continued interest in video games as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox series systems continue to build momentum in the mid-stage of their lifecycles. The Nintendo Switch is lagging behind these competitors; however, sellers should anticipate a new Nintendo system later on in 2024. 

The Top Converting Amazon Products in the New Year Period Peaked Around the New Year

Top 15 Converting Products Year End 2022
Top 15 Converting Products Year End 2023

2022–2023 Insights

  • Diverse consumer interests were observed in top-searched items, including "strawberries," "atomic habits," "apple gift card," "airtag," "rosemary oil for hair," and "sol de janeiro."
  • "Atomic Habits" by James Clear remained a consistent favorite in books, with high click and conversion rates.
  • Apple's "airtag," especially the 4-pack variant, sustained significant interest and conversions despite fluctuations in other products.
  • In the gaming landscape, there was strong demand for consoles like Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, leading to intense competition among retailers due to limited stock.

2023–2024 Transition

  • Items like "atomic habits" and "strawberries" maintained seasonal interest, with strawberries likely driven by being in-season and Atomic Habits thriving due to New Year goals.
  • Religious books and religious study guides gained traction, indicating an interest in self-help and fulfillment at the turn of the year.
  • Late 2023 marked a paradigm shift in gaming preferences, with the Meta Quest 3 redefining VR experiences and improved stock of Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 leading to increased conversions (30% growth YoY) in gaming console sales and searches.

Trajectories of Click and Conversion Rates

Analyzing the trajectories of click and conversion rates revealed intriguing patterns. Some products maintained steady shares, while others fluctuated, potentially influenced by seasonality or competitive launches. Notably, gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 retained significant click shares, reflecting persistent interest. Meanwhile, VR systems like Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3 showcased substantial growth in click shares, signaling a rising fascination with immersive VR experiences, in line with previous findings about increased digital media interest. Sellers should consider stocking self-help books in the end-of-year period and look to increase stock in gaming products moving into 2024 given the growth in conversion rates observed.

The Top Clicked Amazon Products in the New Year Period Peaked the Week of Christmas

Top 15 Clicked Products Year End 2022
Top 15 Clicked Products Year End 2023

2022 to 2023

In the transition from 2022 to 2023, several products witnessed notably high click rates.

  • "H11 Headlight Bulb" search term had a high click share of 97.15% for RAMHORN but lacked a corresponding conversion share.
  • SYLVANIA and PHILIPS, with lower click rates, showcased higher conversion shares.
  • In the "Smart Lock" category, Narpult and Wyze gained significant clicks. ULTRALOQ, however, had a higher conversion rate despite a lower click share.

2023 to 2024

Transitioning into 2024, the trends appear to maintain a similar pattern, albeit with some nuanced changes. 

In the "9007 LED Headlight Bulb" category:

  • KATANA retained a dominant click share of 98.27% and a low conversion rate.
  • SEALIGHT and AUXITO products mirrored this trend, highlighting a gap between clicks and actual conversions in the headlight category.

In the "Solar Lights" category:

  • TOFU lanterns maintained a high click rate but a low conversion rate
  • Joiedomi lanterns exhibited a substantially higher conversion share.
  • Pricing between the products was similar; however, Joiedomi lanterns offered a more aesthetically pleasing globular design.

Trajectories of Click and Conversion Rates

Across both periods, the discrepancies between click rates and conversion shares persisted, suggesting a discrepancy between initial interest and final purchase decisions. Brands like RAMHORN and Narpult excelled in generating interest, while others like SYLVANIA, Joiedomi, and ULTRALOQ showcased higher conversion shares, signifying stronger appeal or trust during the purchasing phase.

In the case of RAMHORN LED replacement lights for cars, RAMHORN was much more competitively priced, about 30% cheaper than competitor brands such as Luxster. Similarly in the case of Narpult and ULTRALOQ (smart locks), Narpult locks are 35% less expensive and the main driver of clicks in this space. 

The trends suggest a crucial need for brands to optimize not only click rates but also enhance the factors influencing conversion shares. Factors such as brand reputation, product design, product reviews, and customer satisfaction play a minor role in elevating conversion shares, but the overriding factor affecting conversions is price. As the transition from 2023 to 2024 reflects consistency in these trends, it might be imperative for brands to focus on pricing strategies that bridge the gap between interest and commitment to purchase.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

The analyzed data from Amazon's Seller Central offers a compelling view of shifting consumer behavior during festive seasons and into 2024. Here's how sellers can leverage these insights backed by our statistical findings:

Selective New Year Shopping: The discernible shift towards selective shopping during the New Year, evidenced by the 16% decline in Apparel searches, calls for tailored marketing approaches emphasizing quality and uniqueness in products.

Digital Content Surge: The substantial 21% surge in Digital Video Downloads searches post-Christmas signifies a notable consumer shift from physical to digital content preferences. Sellers in the digital content space should capitalize on this trend by highlighting digital offerings and only stocking collectors'/limited editions of physical media.

Optimizing Conversion Rates: Pricing strategy is the major determinant of conversions. This emphasizes the need for sellers to scrutinize their competitors' listings and align their pricing strategy accordingly to bridge the gap between interest and conversion rates.

Adapting to Gaming Trends: The sustained fervor for gaming consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and the growing interest in immersive VR experiences present substantial opportunities. Sellers in these niches should increase stock and cater to the increased interest in the sector.

The statistical shifts observed from late December 2022 to early 2023 and in late 2023 into 2024 across Amazon's categories underscore the dynamism of consumer preferences during festive seasons. Sellers should adapt their strategies, focusing on quality, digital content promotion, competitive pricing, and responsive marketing to remain relevant in an ever-changing market.

Methodology

To assess search trends and peak interest periods for different products and search terms, we used Amazon Seller Central search term data to assess the popularity and trending searches for the two weeks prior to the new year in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 as well as the first-week search term data in 2023 and 2024. We assessed the click share, conversion rates, and search term frequency to assess the changing trends as we move through 2024.

Appendix

Top 10 most-searched books on Amazon from Christmas Eve 2022 through New Year 2023, week by week
Top 10 most-searched books on Amazon from Christmas Eve 2023 through New Year 2024, week by week