Analysis: The Market Impact of New Year’s Resolutions

Pattern Data Science

December 22, 2021

We’re getting closer and closer to the last day of the year, and you know what that means! That’s right, it’s almost New Year’s Resolution time.

To say the last two years have been uniquely stressful would be a bit of an understatement, and it’s more than likely that many of us have picked up a bad habit or two along the way. So as January approaches, we got to wondering: are Americans extra interested in setting resolutions for 2022? And if so, what are the most popular self-improvement areas this year compared to previous years?

Is home exercise the hot item this year, or is it all about mindfulness and improving the inner-self? We dug into the data to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted self-improvement trends and how things look as we head into 2022.

What were the most popular self-improvement categories and search terms in 2021?

To start things off, we wanted to examine the most popular categories and search terms this year, to see where things stack up before we head into the New Year’s rush.

Here’s a comparison of some of the most popular self-improvement categories on Amazon last year:

2021 still saw a lot of people building home offices and home gyms as the COVID-19 pandemic stretched throughout the year, so it comes as no surprise that those categories towered above the rest.

Calendars and planners were next up, with more exercise and nutrition-related categories all dominating the top 5.

Next, we examined some of the top self-improvement adjacent search terms. Here are some of the top ones.

The Keto diet appears to be just as popular as ever, as it was the top search term in the ones we analyzed for this report. Journals were next, but the rest of the top five were all dietary related (or close to it): vitamins, weight loss, and health.

Intermittent fasting, and mediterranean diet, dietary trends that have been growing more popular in recent years rounded out the bottom of this list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these trends are on the way out.

For a clearer view on these categories and search terms, let’s dive a bit deeper into the data.

What were the most popular categories and searches during New Year’s Resolution season in 2021?

Some categories and searches are incredibly popular over the course of the entire year, there’s almost certainly some that are far more popular during New Year’s resolution season. So we next examined which saw the biggest increases in demand during January 2021 compared to the rest of the year:

Let’s start with the categories in the analysis:

Strength training equipment and planners both saw a 53% increase in demand during January compared to the rest of the year, the largest New Year’s boost out of the categories in our analysis.

Vegan cooking saw the next biggest increase, with budgeting & money management, and calendars and organizers closing out the top five.

Only swimming, creatine nutritional supplements, and men’s fitness apparel saw lower demand in January than during the rest of the year.

Here’s how our search terms fared:

Demand for ellipticals doubled during January 2021 compared to the rest of the year, easily the biggest New Year’s boost in our analysis. The Mediterranean Diet, meanwhile, saw demand spike by 86%, ahead of more exercise equipment (treadmills and exercise bikes). Closing out the top five was “mindfulness” which saw a 74% increase in demand during New Year’s.

Gym bag was the only term to see demand actually drop in January. Perhaps this is because many gyms were still closed in January 2021, and demand rose throughout the spring and summer as things began to reopen.

Which leads us nicely to the next thing we wanted to examine in our analysis.

How did COVID-19 impact online demand for personal health and self-improvement categories?

Next up on the agenda: finding out how much the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the kind of New Year’s Resolutions people decided to set for themselves. What kinds of things were people most interested in improving after a year of social distancing and quarantine?

We started by comparing demand during January 2021 to January 2020 for a direct look at which items saw the biggest shift from a pre-pandemic New Year’s to one that fell after a year as tumultuous as 2020.

Here’s a look at the change in demand at the category level:

Women’s exercise and fitness apparel had by far the biggest increase in New Year’s demand, jumping 133% from January 2020 to January 2021.

Strength training equipment saw the next biggest year over year increase, followed next by running equipment, more evidence that people were even more eager to get into shape after the first year of COVID.

Next up was desk accessories and workspace organizers, for those who were probably ready to get their home office setup to a bit more permanently enjoyable state.

Personal budgeting saw the biggest year over year decrease from 2020 to 2021, and interestingly men’s fitness apparel also saw demand drop in January 2021 compared to January 2020, completely reversing the trend we saw for women’s apparel.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these categories for a deeper understanding of how the past couple of years have impacted these trends and what we might expect to see from them in January 2022.

Let’s start with the category that got the biggest New Year’s bump compared to the rest of 2021, strength training weights and accessories:

Here’s where we see just how unusual the past couple years have been when it comes to examining some of these categories. While January was definitely the biggest month of 2021 for this category, 2020 is a different story entirely. Demand absolutely skyrocketed in the months following COVID’s initial lockdowns as Americans scrambled to find home-gym solutions.

Based on this view, we actually wouldn’t expect this category to have an exceptionally large January 2022, but we’ll wait and see.

When we examine planners, we see a really clear view of the impact of the New Year. Demand begins to ramp up in December for those who stay on top of their shopping, while January was the biggest month of the year in 2020 and in 2021. We can also see that demand for planners has increased each year, although January 2021 wasn’t all that much higher than in 2020.

Additionally, with November 2021 falling to nearly the same level as November 2020, demand for planners may actually be softening as we head into the New Year. Will January 2022 fail to match the previous two years? We’ll have to wait and see.

When we take a closer look at women’s fitness apparel we see that the huge increase from January 2020 to January 2021 had a little less to do with New Year’s resolutions and a whole lot more to do with there being a big increase in 2021 overall.

Demand for this category began to rise in late summer 2020 and has continued to increase since then. November 2021 brought a significant decrease, however, so it will be interesting to see what the holidays and January 2022 bring.

How did COVID-19 impact online demand for personal health and self-improvement search terms?

Now that we’ve examined some of the major categories, let’s see if our search terms saw similar impacts, starting again with the change in demand from January 2020 to January 2021.

The Peloton was the big winner in January 2021, experiencing a 140% increase in demand compared to January 2020. In fact, the top six search terms when it came to those who had the biggest January jump from 2020 to 2021 were all large home workout equipment items.

Many of the search terms in this view actually saw a drop in demand in 2021 compared to 2020. One again, gym bags are at the bottom of the list. But interest in each of the diet terms were all next up on the list, suggesting that after a year of COVID people were far more interested in working out than they were in picking up a new diet.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these terms, starting with the term that had the biggest January 2021 increase compared to the 2021 average, the elliptical:

Once again, 2020 brought a huge surge in demand in March and April as Americans worked on building home gym solutions. Demand stayed high the rest of the year, surging to an all-time high in January, then dropping to well below 2020 levels by the end of Spring.

We’d expect to see another January surge in demand, but there’s strong evidence here that it won’t be anything near what we say in January 2021.

Treadmills have seen a similar, if less severe version of this trend. A surge in the first months of lockdown, a strong 2020, a very strong January 2021, followed by consistent drop through the rest of the year.

One workout machine that has bucked this trend is the Peloton:

Demand for Pelotons actually rose from January to February this year, and while it did drop later in the year, it has remained consistently above 2020 levels throughout the year.

If we had to place a bet on an at-home workout machine that will have a bigger New Year’s 2022 than 2021, it would definitely be the Peleton.

While COVID-19 had a hugely positive impact on large at-home workout machines, the gym bag tells the opposite side of that story:

New Year’s 2020 saw a lot of Americans stocking up on gym bags as they set resolutions to get out to the gym more often. Demand then absolutely plummeted in the months immediately following COVID’s initial lockdowns.

2021 has seen demand rebound somewhat, but still lagging behind 2019’s pre-pandemic trends. We expect to see January 2022 outperform January 2021, and if it jumps to pre-pandemic levels it’ll tell us a lot about how optimistic people feel about a return to the gym in 2022.

Dieting was less popular than ever in 2021

Our earlier charts suggested that dieting was on a downward trend in 2021, and a closer look definitely seems to reinforce that theory.

When we examine the broad term “diet”, we see that January 2020 and 2019 both started the year quite strong. Both years saw demand decline steadily throughout the year, but 2020 saw demand drop in the immediate months after the pandemic hit.

New Year’s 2021, meanwhile, brought almost no significant leap in demand, especially when compared to the previous two years.

Here are a few looks at specific diet terms that further suggest the pandemic has Americans less interested in diet plans than ever:

The Keto diet appears to be less popular than ever. It enjoyed particularly strong Januarys in 2019 and 2020, but demand dropped significantly once the pandemic hit. 2021 has seen demand remain consistently low, showing no real sign of a resurgence.

Intermittent fasting saw a big surge in interest in January of 2020, but it soon fell off quickly (although there was a short-lived spike in interest in September 2020). 2021, meanwhile, has seen very little change in demand throughout the year.

Even the far-less extreme dietary plan, the Mediterranean diet, has seen a drop in demand since COVID hit. This is the only one in the analysis that appears to have received a slight New Year’s bump in 2021, but it was still one that lagged far behind the previous two years.

It would appear that the pandemic has left Americans feeling far more interested in exercise, and a lot less interested in any “fad” diets.

2021 has also seen a decline in demand for self-help and meditation

It’s not just dieting that has seen a decline in demand since the pandemic hit, however. We’ve also seen demand drop year-over-year for self-help and meditation related searches.

Demand for “self-help” terms haven’t experienced the same kind of decline that diet-related terms have, but there has been a consistent year-over-year drop all the same. January 2021 saw demand fall just below January 2020 which was below January 2019.

2020 did see several months trend ahead of 2019, but once we hit July, demand dipped below pre-pandemic levels and hasn’t yet rebounded.

It’s a similar but even more extreme story for both meditation, and mindfulness with both New Year’s demand and overall demand dropping every year since the pandemic began.

A lesson for brands

Our data suggests that Americans have reshaped their relationship with New Year’s Resolutions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for at-home workout equipment went through the roof, and there’s clear evidence that people are still setting fitness goals as each new year approaches.

But there’s also a lot of evidence that people are simply trying to get through an extremely stressful time, and the idea of setting lofty goals wasn’t something a lot of us felt we had the bandwidth for in 2021.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

Whether we’ll see these same trends continue in 2022, or if we’ll see people eager to set a lot of New Year’s resolutions this year is something we will be keeping a close eye on in the weeks and months ahead..

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, contact us today.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.