Most Indians adopt hybrid lifestyles in pandemic: Google

While the Covid-19 pandemic imposed several constraints, the majority of Indians became adept at leveraging internet access to make more informed choices and better decisions, and seek support for their hybrid lifestyles, according to a report by Google.

The Google annual Year in Search report for 2021 showed accelerated expansion of the internet user base in India over the past two years. It has also led to millions of new Google searches per day across user segments, channels, and needs making Search a key touchpoint for relevant and helpful information.

“This year’s report is headlined by a surge in searches across a spectrum of existing and emerging trends and provides a unique insight into the connected Indian’s preference for a digital-first life,”said Sapna Chadha, Vice President, Marketing, Google India & Southeast Asia, in a statement.

“As people become increasingly adept online, Search has become their ‘go-to’ for making sense of a hybrid world in which more and more services and solutions are also now online,” she added.

Even as mobility was limited, the year saw an acceptance of a blended lifestyle with an approximately 350 per cent growth in interest in “hybrid workplace” alongside about 80 per cent increase in “online doctor consultation”, the report showed.

Increasing user comfort with online commerce has led to a record 533 per cent growth in search interest for “D2C brands” and a 55 per cent increase in “virtual try on”.

People have also become more conscious about online safety in 2021.

This is evident in about an 80 per cent increase in searches for “is it true” on various aspects of fact-checking, misinformation and fake news in 2021.

2021 also saw a reexamination of lifestyle choices with people further prioritising quality time, family ties, and overall health and wellness.

Interest in health insurance for families grew by about 44 per cent.

The report also signals that people are broadening their interest in wellness to be more holistic with searches across physical, emotional and mental health wellbeing growing by 27 per cent.

Search interest in “pet-friendly” also grew by more than 70 per cent as people seek to have their furry friends join them on their staycations and dine outs.

Further, the demand for local language has also continued to grow.

YouTube searches for songs and videos in local languages doubled in 2021.

“Businesses will need to take a proactive role in responding to this consumer transition that’s well underway by providing seamless paths to purchase across online and otherwise. Along with convenience, brands will need to continuously build trust and confidence amongst their consumers as they make more choices and decisions online,” Chadha said.

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