We’re throwing it back to January and February 2020 for a quick year-over-year comparison of pre-pandemic shopping interests on the Slickdeals site compared to what consumers are searching for (and posting about) now.
For our analysis, we looked at all different categories across the site (books and magazines, services, auto, clothing, etc.) and analyzed the average number of clicks per thread as well as how many deals were posted in each category.
Let’s take a look at which categories saw the most drastic growth (or decline) between January/February 2020 and January/February 2021.
YoY, the restaurant category saw a 27.5% decline in clicks per thread as well as a 27.4% decline in posted deals. We’re all aware of the toll Covid-19 took on the restaurant industry, from permanently closing doors to forcing restaurants to restructure their day-to-day operations.Recovering from pandemic-related losses, it’s likely that restaurants still aren’t able to provide compelling discounts, decreasing the amount of deals posted in the category. Since consumers still aren’t dining out as often as they used to, the overall engagement within the restaurant category has declined as well.
It’s no surprise that user engagement significantly increased in the grocery category YoY. Seeing an 80.5% spike in clicks per thread, we can safely assume that due to Covid-19 restrictions on dining out, consumers are continuing to lean in on the grocery category. When we look at the 26.6% YoY decline in actual deals posted, it suggests that because the demand for groceries has increased by so much, merchants don’t need to offer as many deals.
3. Office Supplies
As working from home continues to be the “new normal,” user engagement with the Slickdeals office supplies category saw a positive lift in both deals posted (25.9%) as well as clicks per thread (30.1%). The task of building out the perfect home office is still present and the deals on standing desks just keep on coming.
4. Sporting Goods
The sporting goods category on Slickdeals has been consistently popular throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to January and February being popular months for health and wellness (think Dry January and New Year’s resolutions), the increase in clicks per thread (22.1%) as well as deals posted (31.4%) could also be attributed to consumers continuing to invest in newfound hobbies related to fitness and outdoor recreation.
5. Babies & Kids
The babies and kids category on Slickdeals saw a YoY bump in both clicks per thread and deals posted, up 22.1% and 38% respectively. As parents continue to balance working remotely with their children present, either due to lack of childcare or virtual learning, the need for kid-friendly distractions (toys) has heightened. As a result, shoppers are on the hunt for deals on toys and games while merchants are likely boosting offers not only to incentivize shoppers but also to beat out their competitors. With a higher number of deals being posted versus actual engagement with those deals, we can make an educated guess that the market might be oversaturated.
The numbers from the pets category were interesting, mostly because they weren’t what we were expecting. YoY, this category saw a decline of 30.1% in clicks per thread and a whopping 54.7% decline in deals posted. With a massive increase in pet adoptions over the course of the pandemic, we were surprised to see this category decline in user engagement. After doing some digging, we found that in July and August of 2020, there was an 80% YoY increase in the number of deals posted in the pets category when compared to Jul-Aug 2019. Perhaps by early 2021, new pet owners had already stocked up on their one-time buys like crates, leashes, collars, treats etc. leaving only the upkeep of absolute essentials like food, litter, etc. A decline in deals posted tells us merchants aren’t offering many deals and the decline in clicks per thread tells us shoppers aren’t really searching for them anyways.
7. Clothing & Accessories
The shift from in-store to online shopping was greatly accelerated by the pandemic, forcing large retailers to rethink their marketing strategies and optimize their online shopping experience. As if those tasks weren’t enough, they also had to endure consumers reprioritizing what was deemed “essential” as a direct result of Covid-19 impacting many consumer’s financial stability. With a 24.3% decline in clicks per thread and an 18% decline in deals posted in the clothing and accessories category, it appears as though consumers are still not as interested in adding to their wardrobe. Seasonality could also play a role in the decline in user engagement in this category. At the tail end of Winter, shoppers may be waiting for warmer weather to “spring” for new clothing. With Spring sale events, like Memorial Day weekend, on the horizon, merchants may be holding onto special offers, possibly explaining the decline in posted deals.