Our Content & Search experts gaze into their crystal ball and try to predict the next big thing

Ever wonder what’s the next big thing? Or how our daily Google searches can predict the next must-have item? Now you no longer have to! Thanks to freely available data on most-searched-for items, the expert integrated team at RADICAL have turned the spotlight on what the nation searches for – to identify patterns within searches over a five-year period and see how trends emerge into the mainstream.

Kicking off their search around…ahem…facial hair, which has seen a return to fashion once more – searches across Ireland around beard maintenance have grown substantially over the past five years. Who knew!


Starting from a low search volume, searches for beards have risen 152% in Ireland since 2012 compared to 97% in notable hipster enclave, New York. While searches for beard oils increased massively by 1851% from 2012 to end of 2016 – compared to 1100% in NYC.

Interestingly, within Ireland search volumes in 2016 only increased 2.34% compared to 2015 – so interest is slowing down, with beards now frequently sported in every walk of life.

But nonetheless, in Ireland, there remains an average of 12,500 searches performed for beards each month. Which raises the question – are we more hipster than New York’s finest?

The emerging trends in hipster food and drink opportunities chart the changes in the way Irish people eat and dine out now. Where once the nation dined out on meat and two veg, search volumes for “vegan” have increased 382% since 2012 to end of 2016. And they show no sign of slowing down. Year on year we are seeing increases of over 60%, so the market – and our appetite – is still growing.

Placing this move to clean eating and searching for superfoods in context, RADICAL looked at search trends around the term ‘vegan’ in Berlin as well. Despite its population of 3.5 million and reputation as a home for many emerging trends, we remain ahead of Berlin’s finest in the search charts. Instead, Berlin has witnessed an 182% increase in the same time with search volumes for ‘vegan’ slowing to under 3% year on year.

Along with the trend to learn more about veganism, superfoods have enjoyed a rise to prominence. In fact, the humble sweet potato has grown in interest by 275% from 2012 to end of 2016. And the avocado follows suit, edging out the sweet potato in search trends to emerge with a total figure of 284%, and showing stronger growth figures year on year. The delicious green superfood is more popular here than with our German counterparts, with the Irish search trends showing a much higher interest than Berlin at 198%.

Elsewhere, there’s no escaping the trend for a tasty doughnut with a host of new doughnut shops opening across Dublin. And the search trends clearly show a spike in popularity for the fried doughy dessert from 2016 onwards, with a YOY increase of 72% in doughnut searches from 2015 to 2016. While overall from 2012, there’s been a staggering increase of 157% in doughnut searches across Ireland.

Moving to our drinks of choice, with gin now firmly a fixture on cocktail lists once more, the search trends reflect its return to favour. In fact, while craft beer was the drink of 2015, it’s spirits such as gin and whiskey which are undergoing the strongest growth from a search volume point of view at present. Gin searches in Ireland grew 65% from 2015 to 2016 with whiskey growing 23%.

Searches also reflect the rise in interest in vaping as an alternative to smoking. Since 2012, vaping searches in Ireland have grown 761% with strong growth figures year on year.

Finally, the impact of trends and the search for new and different ways of consuming and enjoying life is evident in the search volumes around the latest in-demand postcode in Dublin. While Ranelagh was once the enclave of creative classes, Stoneybatter has seen the biggest increase in search volume since 2012 compared to Phibsboro and Dublin 8, with increase figures of 74%, 50% and 40% respectively.

But as we know, the search for the latest hip product, dining-out trend or drink never ends.

Looking at areas around Dublin, it appears East Wall is the next area to be in demand with an increase of 132% since 2012 and from 2015 into 2016, showing much higher growth in search volume increases.

What does all this tell us? For the next big bets for brands and businesses to watch – we will be vegan vaping gin drinkers, eating avocado and living in East Wall.

So why does it matter to brands? Where hipsters lead others follow…

While the search trends show clear patterns as items move from cult favourites to the mainstream, it’s just one example of how much consumer information we can access at our fingertips. Commenting on the trends, Radical’s Editorial Director, Hannah-Louise Dunne says: “Search trends and digital data offer us real and tangible insight into what Irish audiences are actually interested in. Brands who stay abreast of these trends and use this knowledge to inform the planning and delivery of content and creative stand to benefit from reaching audiences with work that resonates, is relevant and cuts through the clutter.”

Core Media Programmatic Director, David Mulligan, adds: “Search trends are commonly used by marketers to back up planning and guide annual budgets, but this knowledge can have a much wider impact for businesses and brands. By keeping an eye on search trends, both at home and abroad, insights can be gained on how consumer sentiment and habits are shifting. Companies who react quickest can benefit the most in the short and medium term, especially from an online point of view.”

Interested to learn more about trending topics?

The integrated team in Radical love nothing more than getting their teeth into a new trending topic. Combining the might of their search, content and analytical team, Radical can get under the skin of any trending consumer issue and match what they see with a solution to approach this trend and audience for your brand.

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