More than two years ago during the summer of 2020, we used Google search trend data to build a US consumer activity index to gauge the strength of the re-opening of society after COVID lockdowns. The index is an aggregation of Google search trend activity for various terms like hotel, cruises, flights, bars, and restaurants, to name a few. When we first started looking at trends in searches for activities that get people out of the house and doing things again, we were trying to see how long it would take to get back to pre-COVID levels. As shown in the chart of the index below, it took until the summer of 2021 to get back to pre-COVID levels, but then activity receded again as we went into the fall last year as Omicron began to spread rapidly.
This summer we saw our Google Trend consumer activity index surge past 2021 highs as people have really started to go out and travel again. Recently, however, we’ve seen a dip in activity. As shown, this appears to be seasonal as we saw the same thing happen last year at this time. Even still, the activity index remains above the level it was at prior to the first COVID cases on US soil, so it’s hard to argue that the consumer has pulled back much — if any — this year, even with inflation raging and some economic indicators flashing recession warnings signs. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.