International Fashion Trends + Search: Nuances mean Everything

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  • Managing shopping campaigns across international markets not only highlight differences among brand, category and color preferences, but also nuances in search queries and consumer behavior.
  • Standardizing search campaigns across multiple markets without regards to local trends means you are likely missing out on significant pockets of performance growth.
  • The UK, French, and German markets run fairly similarly, but the US tends to follow it’s own trends and behaviors.


It’s no secret that the millions of fashion related shopping queries being typed every day into search engines like Google or Bing carry insights about current fashion trends. Coming from all over the world, these queries also carry nuances on cultural preferences, providing learnings on population behavior, macro- and micro-trends, and local fads.

Online marketers know that taking into consideration these aspects when building out their campaigns can have a significant impact on performance, especially when managing accounts for different markets.

With this analysis, we aimed to understand how differences in international markets translated in preferences for color brand and products and how marketers can best adapts their campaigns to capture consumers’ interest and demand.


Crealytics’ Digital Marketing team provided a cross-market fashion trends analysis based on search and order volume for a large multi-national online fashion retailer. We identified trends looking at text ads data from the last three months (June to September 2016) and comparing it to the same timeframe last year.

To identify the top fashion trends we analyzed the attributes of users’ search queries. We looked at brand, category and color attributes the search queries included and put together the following combinations, based on the search and order volume.

  •         Brand + Category + Color
  •         Brand + Category
  •         Category + Color

We then reviewed the top performing combinations by volume in the UK, US, French and German markets to see how the results differ by market.



Trending Products

Starting in the German market, Puma x Rihanna Creepers represented the foremost trending search query based on volume during the summer of 2016. They were especially popular in suede – about 5% of all searches in total.  This is not an unexpected result, due to the popularity and marketing behind the Puma and Rihanna collaboration.

This trend can also be traced in France, where Puma Creepers were not quite the rising star of the season but still made a significant jump in search volume YoY. Interestingly enough, in the US and UK markets, despite Rihanna’s popularity, the Creeper trend did not reach top categories at all.

In the French market the fashion trend of the summer were baseball caps by different brands, of which Nike, New Era and Ralph Lauren were the most popular ones. Searches for cap-related terms rose by 38% YoY and make up 1.3% of total searches in our test universe, making them the biggest French trend of 2016. Surprisingly, this trend could not be found in any of the other markets we researched.


Hot Brands

There are differences in brand popularity between regions as well. Nike remains one of the top risers in the UK and France, while adidas is the leading shopping trend in the US market.  In Germany also Nike and Puma are the dominating sportswear brands.


In UK, the majority of retail search terms in the summer of 2016 was generated by Calvin Klein underwear, Lipsy dresses, Dune shoes or Religion clothing, very similar to last year’s trending queries.

Shopping for cosmetics sees a different result, where the trend in the last three months in UK and France is represented by searches on NYX products, such as concealers, lipsticks or foundation. In Germany NYX does not appear in the top attribute combinations of 2016, but nevertheless received an increase in traffic of 90% YoY.

One of the most searched terms in US in the last months was sneakers, which made up 7% of the total, with adidas and Puma again representing the most popular brands.  Along with sneakers, the back-to-school season sent people shopping for backpacks, with a 59% increase YOY, many of them from Herschel Supply Co. or North Face.


Also in US, Quay Australia sunglasses had a high search volume in the last months, making up 9% of the total queries, whereas in Germany, for the same category Ray-Ban was among the top queries.


I See Your True Colors

When it comes to the most searched colors, the trends seems to have changed compared to last year, when navy and black were in the top in UK and US. Overall, white and red seem to be the most prominent colors that are searched for in 2016 across all markets.




Our results mainly show that the trends differ significantly across the markets. True to their cultural foundation, the US likes the stand alone in terms of brand popularity, while the German and the French markets shop according to similar trends.

Nevertheless, there are some similarities between the four markets in terms of categories, especially in regards to color. Users seem to show a lot of interest in red dresses across all markets, as related search queries generated the highest traffic in the given time frame.  White seems to dominate the search queries in UK, US, DE and FR, this being found in most of the combinations typed in by users.


Turning Insights into Action

Obviously as search marketers we take into account differences in language, culture, and demand when building out new campaigns for various markets.  Extending that analysis to include nuanced differences in brands, products and colors can also yield surprising results. 

In order to leverage your AdWords campaigns using your target audience preferences, we recommend you analyze your Shopping and Search accounts to find out the trends in a specific market or for a specific retailer.

Gather the data for a specific time frame and use KPIs such as impressions, clicks or conversions to perform the analysis. This way, you’ll get some insights on what your audience is searching for and what it’s actually converting.

Depending on what you find out, you could decide on improving the coverage for certain brands or categories in specific markets. You may also find new keyword categories that are undervalued elsewhere in your portfolios.  Extending insights beyond traditional differences in campaigns can help you understand your customers in a more meaningful way, and improve performance across both volume and efficiency.  


Andreea is a PPC enthusiast, working for our leading international ecommerce customers within the fashion retail industry, with a focus on the US market.

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