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Dogs Industry online demand USA, Australia, UK - 1

This report is the first in a series of dogs online demand reports. It uses Google data for exact searches in three of the highest dog ownership countries: Australia, America and the UK. It may seem unusual providing such original analysis on a dog walking site, but I always find it useful to know about the size and seasonality of anything that I am very interested in, and in this case it’s DOGS!

For instance dog walking can be quite seasonal, so it is worth knowing if all things pertaining to dogs have some kind of regular rhythm throughout the year. Do people buy dogs at a certain time, do they groom or wash dogs more often in different seasons? Do different countries approach information about dogs (or search online) in a different manner? While the answers to these questions may seem intuitive, the behaviour of the whole dog online market can be very educational for both people in the industry as well as dog owners. For instance the top five dog terms in early 2011 were: dogs, dog breeds, dog games, dogs for sale, dog names. The rest of this article looks at the major terms in Australia, America and the UK

The reason that the online market is looked at is that the web is often the first place that people go for information, it provides a complete picture of the dog market/ industry. It can also be quantified weekly or monthly in almost real time. The reason that Google data is used is that it is the leading search engine on the planet and with major market share comes the most comprehensive list of terms for which people search. This research helps show how the market for  ‘DOG associated’ terms on Google changes throughout the year and how Australia compares with leading dog search countries.

Several Google databases will be used in this analysis and terms will be explained along the way. Firstly, Google provides data on broad, phrase and exact match data. Exact match data means that the volumes quoted are for the exact terms searched. That said, the volumes are believed to be anywhere up to double the actual searches people make on the search engine, as Google also includes data from their affiliate network too.

Australian Google DOGS associated market 2010

The graph below is generated for Google monthly search data currently available (during January 2011). As you can see it stops at October 2010 but it shows the volume seasonality of the 365 terms that Google closely associates with the term ‘DOGS’. Google can now provide data on up to a maximum of 800 terms however if a market contains terms that don’t  have sufficient or consistent search volumes it will only display data for those that do. That is why In Australia the ‘dog associated’ market currently stops at 365 terms out of a possible 800.

The graph essentially shows that dog related search terms consistently increased throughout the year to a peak level of around 260,000 searches per month in October 2010.

Australia Dog industry searches 2010

Comparison of America, UK and Australia DOG associated online term searches

The graph below shows the trend of dog associated searches on Google for three of the leading DOG search countries, America, Australia and the UK. A later report will in fact show that UK is the leading DOG related search country in the world on a per capita basis.

For ease of reference, the graph shows Australia’s searches multiplied by ten and the UK searches by 2. America clearly has the largest absolute number of ‘dog associated searches’ in the world with a peak near 3.2 million searches a month in Jan and October 2010. You will notice that the USA and the UK have quite a similar trend throughout the year, both starting and finishing on relatively high volumes, with a very pronounced search trough in the middle of the year (JUNE). And while this graph only represents ten months of 2010, you can see that Australia follows almost the reverse trend peaking in August.

It should be remembered that these graphs represent the whole of the dog associated searches in each country and while there are many different search terms, the top fifty searches in each country make up the majority volume of searches. For example in Australia in October 2010, the top 50 volume dog associated terms accounted for 70% of the searches of the top 365 dog associated terms.

Because Australia has by far the greatest and most consistent search volume of all southern hemisphere countries under analysis, it is difficult to confirm the following theory, but it appears that Dog associated searches are highest in winter (both major northern and southern hemisphere countries). And that there may be a Christmas effect that provides a peak in all countries leading up to Christmas.

Dog Industry search America UK Australia 2010

What are people searching for in Dogs?

The table below shows the top ten dog associated search terms in October 2010. Note that they order rarely changes but there is some shift in volumes.

Australia

VOL

America

VOL

UK

VOL

[dog]

22,200

[dogs]

246,000

[dogs trust]

110,000

[dog breeds]

14,800

[dog]

135,000

[dogs]

90,500

[dog games]

12,100

[dog breeds]

110,000

[puppies for sale]

90,500

[dogs for sale]

9,900

[dog names]

90,500

[dogs for sale]

74,000

[dog names]

9,900

[pictures of dogs]

40,500

[battersea dogs home]

60,500

[dog training]

4,400

[bernese mountain dog]

40,500

[dog breeds]

40,500

[adopt a dog]

3,600

[dogs for sale]

33,100

[dog games]

40,500

[dog grooming]

2,400

[dog games]

33,100

[dog beds]

27,100

[bernese mountain dog]

2,400

[female dog names]

33,100

[dog insurance]

18,100

[female dog names]

2,400

[dog training]

27,100

[dog rescue]

18,100

From the table you can see that dog/ dogs is overwhelmingly the largest search term in Australia (22,200) and America (246,000) and second in UK (90,500).  Other common points are the term ‘dog breeds’ (second in Australia, third in America, sixth in UK) and ‘dogs for sale’ ( fourth in Australia, seventh in America, fourth in UK.

You will notice that there are also many more searches in people looking for ‘dog breeds’ and ‘dogs for sale’  than there are for ‘dog training’ (Australia sixth, America tenth, UK twenty first). That said, in the UK the top term ‘dog trust’ relates to “The UK's largest dog welfare charity, outreach programs, education, information, dogs for re-homing, legislation and campaigning.”

A measure of popularity can also be found in how close a country comes to filling out the maximum seed word associated terms of 800. If a term has irregular or low volumes (Usually under ten searches a month), Google tends not to include the term in its list. In Australia dog associated terms were 365, America had 621 while the UK had the full list of 800 terms. This can either mean that a country just has a ‘long tail’ or search pattern of many diverse terms, or indicates that the country has a high performing market. In a future article we will see that on a ‘per capita’ basis that the UK leads the world in dog associated searches, and so the maximum rating of 800 terms is well justified (particularly since the UK only has one fifth of the USA’s population).

CONCLUSION

In this article we can see that Australia has a very healthy interest in dogs (one fifteenth the population of America but one tenth of the searches). We can see that Australia’s search trend for dog associated terms is the inverse of the northern hemisphere countries of America and UK.

There are very similar dog associated terms that people search for across these three highly developed English speaking countries.

The fact that ‘dog training’ is so low on each populations search priority in the dog world may be of concern. A dog purchase should be a ‘one off’ event, but dog training and learning effective boundary setting and discipline should be an on-going quest. Perhaps this plus the absence of ‘dog walking’ queries in the highest search terms suggests why there are so many dogs with behavioural and social interaction issues?

A recent article in a local paper (The Age Good Weekend Feb 5 2011) stated that in Australia 250,000 dogs and cats are euthanized annually, yet 500,000 puppies are also bred during this same time. Ironically there are very few ‘bad’ dogs in society, it’s just that some owners don’t seem to have the time or skills set to meet their ownership commitment and appropriately care for their dogs. Since meaningful exercise (dog walking, dog play) is the first part of the equation to a well balanced dog, neglecting this is often the cause of dogs and owners suffering and dogs being given away.

Original research & Analysis by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to http://www.dogwalkersmelbourne.com.au

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