Destination abroad: travelling dominates the search demand

Destinations in Europe – and beyond – are firmly up there in what the UK is searching for in the run-up to summer breaks, but demand for travel insurance and a skew towards cheaper deals hints at learned caution and cost of living concerns after the past two years.

The UK’s optimism towards foreign shores for that perhaps elusive holiday is apparent. Searches for destinations including both popular European haunts and further afield (Thailand, anyone?) are on the rise, as is cross-sector searching for those essentials – luggage, calamine lotion, sunscreen and swimwear. 

Across the board searches relating to the travel sector are stable year-on-year, but looking at searches for airlines and holiday firms within the sector and there is a distinct rise of almost 100%. But people remain cautious about last minute cancellations and luggage allowances on board  — with searches for travel insurance soaring in May 2022 compared to the previous year and suitcases demand in growth as stricter cabin baggage allowances are in play.

Your regular digital demand update from Performance Marketing World - powered by MediaVision’s Digital Demand Tracker - tracks online search trends to determine what’s in demand. 

Here’s what the demand data for various sectors shows for 8 to 21 May 2022, compared to the same time in 2021.

Airline demand soars 

Searches for flight comparison site Skyscanner were up by a significant 213% in May 2022 compared to the same period the previous year, as people look to cut costs on their flights, while travel marketplace LoveHolidays saw searches soar by 287%. 

However, TUI and Jet2 also saw a distinct rise in demand – of 180% and 187% respectively  – perhaps as booking package holidays gives more guaranteed consumer protections should something go wrong. 

Across the major airlines flying out of the UK, the biggest rises in demand were for Emirates (220%), Ryanair (176%), Etihad (173%) and Easyjet (147%). It’s likely that while a lot of this is due to demand for flights in general, there will be some links to researching travel restrictions and new curbs on extras such as baggage allowances. With a lot of travel chaos reported in the news over the course of the month, particularly over the half-term from schools and in the run up to the Bank Holiday in the UK, would-be travellers are also possibly looking to keep up to date on their plans. It’s also worth noting that taxi business Addison Lee saw a 72% growth in search demand, perhaps as people look for means to get to the airport.

Outside of the travel sector, the biggest growth winners in May 2022 within fashion are Stradivarius, Accessorize and Reiss – all brands reported growth of more than 65% year-on-year. Young womens’ fashion retailer MissPap was among the biggest falls (40%), while almost 18 months after the demise of Arcadia Group, searches for the majority of the former flagship brands, including Topshop, Miss Selfridge, and Topman dropped by more than 20% each. 

Within beauty, reality star Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics brand grew in demand by 136%, and Charlotte Tilbury by 60%. Mass beauty retailer Sephora saw a 97% rise, but its FeelUnique brand – acquired by Sephora late last year – saw search volumes drop 44% in May 2022.  

Travel insurance searches climb 

While demand for the travel sector was stable in volume  in May 2022 compared to the previous year, travellers are making sure they are covered for all  eventualities. Searches for travel insurance climbed by more than 311% over the period, while suitcase searches were up 349%. 

While confidence in searches for particular European destinations is on the rise, with searches for Greece, Turkey and Italy holidays all up by triple digits, it seems that travellers are also gaining confidence to search further afield. Searches for Thailand holidays were up  by more than 300% while the Maldives saw a 129% climb in demand. There is no getting away from the fact that travellers are keeping an eye on their pennies however, with searches for ‘cheap’ or ‘cheapest’ flights up by 294% and 412% respectively.

Swimwear and sunscreen feel the heat of demand

It would also seem that the travel bug is driving certain searches across other sectors. Despite a slight dip across beauty-related searches in the period, sunscreen and suncream saw climbs of 153% and 259% respectively. Calamine lotion also saw a growth – of more than 400% and mosquito repellent searches were up 301% compared to May 2021. Swimsuit  searches grew by 67% upon already significant volumes, while mens’ swim shorts saw demand rocket by 300%. 

Alongside holiday preparations it also looks like people are preparing for a hopeful hot summer both abroad and at home, with searches for summer dresses up 30% and mens shorts up 157%. And within the home, cooling down is a priority, with a distinct jump in demand for air conditioning units (129%) and Dyson fans (86%) – perhaps both to catch a bargain in time for an anticipated heatwave.


All data is sourced by MediaVision’s Digital Demand Tracker