It’s beginning to look a lot like Pinterest users have had enough of the COVID crisis and are looking ahead to happier times.
While it’s not uncommon for “Pinners” to begin their searches for holiday-themed items as early as September, the social sharing site says this year’s search activity started to rise in April.
According to Pinterest, searches around keywords like “Christmas,” “Christmas aesthetic” and “Christmas ornaments” were 59% higher in April compared to the same period last year.
That includes a 5x year-over-year increase in searches for “Christmas baking,” a 4x increase in searches around “Christmas party outfits” and a 3x increase in searches around “Christmas gift ideas”
“If you’re not already thinking about holiday, you’re late,” said Pinterest in a recent communication piece aimed at brand managers.
Pinterest says its data suggests users want this year’s holiday season to feel “extra special,” with 40% saying that they are looking to brands to help them bond with loved ones and create special family moments.
Pinterest’s Canadian head Erin Elofson says the company typically sees an increase in search activity two to three months in advance of a seasonal moment (see chart), with search activity around seasonal occasions typically starting to rise prior to Google.
Elofson ascribes the early start on holiday searches to people yearning for happier times in what has been a difficult year. “It’s clear that consumers are looking for a warm, cozy holiday season and a sense of normalcy by the time December rolls around,” she says. “Users are also factoring in shipping delays and part of their early planning is taking that into consideration.”
Pinterest positions itself as a barometer of consumer intent that captures people in a “future-oriented mindset.” According to a 2018 study conducted by GfK, 83% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from a brand on Pinterest.
“[E]very time that someone searches on Pinterest, they’re thinking about what they want to try next,” says Elofson. “Because Pinterest is grounded in the future, we get an earlier indication of where consumers are headed, and can help brands and agencies predict what is to come for their category.”
Pinterest says that internal data also suggests that people will use the platform for “window shopping,” particularly if the pandemic is still raging and they remain wary of in-person holiday shopping.
Pinterest introduced a way to make the platform more “shoppable” earlier this year, partnering with Shopify on a new app that gives more than one million merchants the ability to quickly upload catalogues to the platform and turn items into shoppable “Product Pins.”
It says that the number of users engaging with the Product Pins has increased 44% year-over-year, while total traffic to retailers has increased 2.3x.