Australian Events have conducted an independent analysis of Google Trends for five key search terms related to outdoor adventure activities – caravan, camping, boating, fishing and 4×4 – and we’ve learned of some significant changes in Australians’ interest since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

First, we took a look at the overall trends for searches between the first of January 2019 and the first of January 2021, to get a full picture of just how much our country’s searching habits have changed since before the pandemic began. The data has revealed that Australia is at the top of the list for interest in these outdoor adventure activities, with our home country taking the lead for proportionate searches for caravan and 4×4, and placing second only to New Zealand for fishing and boating. When it comes to camping related searches, Australia is ranked at number 11 – but a closer inspection of regional trends revealed that Brisbane residents were the most dedicated searchers for the term across the globe.

It’s worthwhile to note that South East Queenslanders are the most avid “Googlers” of our chosen search terms, with major centers Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast ranking in the top five cities worldwide for each key term over the two years.

Worldwide – Jan to Jan – Country and City – Camping
Worldwide – Jan to Jan – Country and City – Boating
Worldwide – Jan to Jan – Country and City – Fishing
Worldwide – Jan to Jan – Country and City – 4×4
Worldwide – Jan to Jan – Country and City – Caravan

Pictured: Worldwide interest in chosen search terms between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2021 – Line Graph, By Country & By City
(see bottom of page for a chart reading guide)

South East Queenslanders are the most avid searchers of caravan, camping, boating, fishing & 4×4, with major centers Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast ranking in the top five cities worldwide for each key term over the two years.

If we narrow our focus just a little, it appears that Australia is more interested now than we have ever been in camping, fishing and caravans. Boating and 4x4s are close behind. Data available via Google Trends shows that compared to January 2019, interest in boating and 4x4s in particular had increased by up to 25%.

Interestingly, you can pinpoint the exact moment that the Australian government implemented restrictions in response to COVID-19, as the March/April period of 2020 sees a significant drop in searches for both caravans and camping, but the same period saw interest in boating, fishing and 4x4s spike, with boating reaching the highest point for the time period on the date that restrictions took effect.

These spikes are potentially due to the isolated nature of the activities, which rely heavily on being a significant distance from people nearby, for both safety and success, whereas camping and caravan related activities often see a high number of people confined to small spaces or positioned close to one another in campgrounds.

Australia is more interested now than we have ever been in camping, fishing and caravans, and interest in boating and 4x4s has increased by up to 25% since January 2019.

If we consider the popularity of the same five key terms over the last 90 days (1 December 2020 – 1 March 2021), the rankings change only slightly, but clearly highlight that interest in these topics is on the rise for Australians. Australia has maintained its top spot worldwide for both caravans and 4x4s, and placed second for boating, fishing and camping – which is a marked jump from the number 11 spot for the time between January 2019 and January 2021.

The proportion of queries for caravans in Australia were significantly greater than that of the next four countries on the list, with New Zealand and the United Kingdom each receiving a value of only 22 for second and third place, meaning that they saw less than a quarter of proportionate searches for the same time period.

These lower rates can be explained in part by the UK starting their winter season at the beginning of the selected time period, and both countries implementing lockdowns in response to COVID-19 in January and February, respectively.

Worldwide – 90 days – Country and City – Fishing
Worldwide – 90 days – Country and City – Caravan
Worldwide – 90 days – Country and City – Camping
Worldwide – 90 days – Country and City – Boating
Worldwide – 90 days – Country and City – 4×4

Pictured: Worldwide interest in chosen search terms between December 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021Line Graph, By Country & By City

Back home in Australia, the proportion of queries for camping, caravans and fishing have increased since December 2020, but boating and 4×4 searches have decreased rapidly in the last week of February. This rapid decline in searches is likely due to the activities being partially dependent on weather, and a seasonal change being on the cards for March.

Queenslanders remained at the top of the list for interest in camping, boating and 4x4s, scoring positions in the top five for caravans and fishing over the last 90 days. This is likely due in part to the significant lack of restrictions for the state, aside from a brief 3 day lockdown in the Greater Brisbane area in early January 2021. Regional centres for South East Queensland continued to shine, with Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast keeping their top five spots for three out of the five chosen search terms during the 90-day period.              

Australia – 90 Days – State and City – Caravan
Australia – 90 Days – State and City – Fishing
Australia – 90 Days – State and City – Boating
Australia – 90 Days – State and City – 4×4
Australia – 90 Days – State and City – Camping

Pictured: Australian interest in chosen search terms between December 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021Line Graph, By State & By City

Spring has officially begun for those in the Northern Hemisphere, so it’s no surprise that interest in outdoor adventure is on the rise. Alongside the popularity with those up North, March 1st marks the start of Autumn for the Southern Hemisphere, and the end of summer heatwaves and the promise of cooler weather has all of us ready to make the most of our last sunny days before winter begins in earnest. Whether it’s the promise of perfect adventure weather or just a response to the news of a global vaccine rollout, all five search terms have seen a significant increase globally since December 2020.

With Australians more interested in outdoor adventure than they ever have been before, the potential for a major market boom in 2021 is more likely than not for companies providing relevant products and services here at home. International travel and tourism are off the cards for the time being, and as we saw over the course of 2020, Australians are prepared to spend their holidays and long weekends a little closer to home in 2021.

Whether it’s the promise of perfect adventure weather or just a response to the news of a global vaccine rollout, all five search terms have seen a significant increase globally since December 2020.

We took the chance to compare feedback from our first outdoor adventure event of the year, the 2021 Moreton Bay Caravan, Camping, Boating & 4×4 Expo, to see if Queenslanders are taking a renewed interest in holidaying at home and applying it to their everyday lives, and the answer is a resounding YES!

Alongside a 10% boost to patron numbers compared to the previous year, feedback results from our visitors revealed that almost 60% of patrons were attending for the first time, and over 50% of attendees made a purchase at the event. Top products of interest reflect the data provided by Google Trends, with caravans, camping equipment, 4x4s, camper trailers and boats scoring the top five spots on the list for the Redcliffe event.

Australians [are] more interested in outdoor adventure than they ever have been before.

As we can clearly see, the level of interest in outdoor adventure products and services in Australia has increased exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic began, reaching unprecedented heights across the board.  With that in mind, it’s clear to us here at Australian Events that outdoor adventure expos will be the place to be this year, as visitors will have the unique opportunity to talk to industry experts and compare a huge portion of the market in one convenient location, while exhibiting companies will see an unanticipated growth in sales, leads and market share.

Australian Events are hosting 11 more outdoor adventure events between Cairns and Newcastle in 2021, so if you are interested in attending or exhibiting, check out the full list of events available on our website.

The next major event on our calendar is on track to be bigger than ever, taking place in global outdoor adventure interest hotspot the Sunshine Coast over three days in April. The figures don’t lie – outdoors is the place to be in 2021. So join us at the 2021 South Queensland Caravan, Camping, Fishing & 4×4 Expo, 9 – 11 April, at the Nambour Showgrounds.

CHART READING GUIDES:

Interest over time: Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

Interest by subregion: Values are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is the location with the most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location, a value of 50 indicates a location which is half as popular. A value of 0 indicates a location where there was not enough data for this term. Note: A higher value means a higher proportion of all queries, not a higher absolute query count. So a tiny country where 80% of the queries are for “bananas” will get twice the score of a giant country where only 40% of the queries are for “bananas”.