Jonathan Saipe

2008: The Year of The Electric Car?

20 December 2008, Jonathan Saipe

Electric CarIn my opinion, Google Trends has always been a useful tool when it comes to analysing Google search behaviour by time and region.

Unless you’ve been living in a vacuum this year, you’ll know that 2008 has been incredibly turbulent, particularly for the banking and finance industry. And of course this has had a knock-on effect among consumers world-wide.

So when it comes to our car buying habits (and Google searches), what can Google Trends reveal?

When comparing search terms like “sports car” and “electric car”, we can certainly see conspicuous trends. For “sports car”, we see a very marginal decline in demand from 2004 to now, whereas “electric car” has shown a significant peak this year (signficantly moreso in the US than the UK).
Google Trends Graph

For the real data, go to Google Trends.

Whilst I’d like to think that the car drivers are globally becoming more eco-friendly, my hunch is that the cost of petrol (or gas in the States) – particularly around the middle of 2008, and the credit crunch, has seen a big surge in people looking for alternatives to the norm.

When it comes to search engine optimisation, the automotive industry should clearly look closer at search demand and start acting accordingly. Maybe if Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and even Rover had done this in 2006, they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in now.