In both business and social spheres, we talk constantly about hot new brands stirring up various markets. And where there’s talk, there’s typing. To take the pulse of America’s hottest brands, in both traditional and emerging categories, we’ve examined Google search trend data for both the Davids and the Goliaths they’re up against.
For fast casual burgers, McDonald’s is truly a supersized competitor. You may have heard more lately about Shake Shack, but 11,100,000 average monthly searches for McDonald’s easily dwarfs its smaller, trendier competitors, Five Guys (823,000 monthly searches) and Shake Shack (550,000 monthly searches).
In the fast casual chicken category, there’s a similar story being cooked up. Places like Cowboy Chicken (33,100 searches) are certainly growing fast, but still pale in comparison to industry stalwarts like KFC (5,000,000 searches) and Chick-fil-A (3,350,000 searches).
Besides burgers and chicken, there are a few other food categories that caught our attention. Blue Apron already dominates the relatively new meal delivery service category, netting 1,220,000 monthly searches, compared with its nearest competitor, Plated, which is searched an average of 246,000 times per month, nationwide. Meanwhile, Quest Nutrition is winning the energy/protein bars category (110,000 searches), but not by much. The category has relatively low search volume to begin with so KIND bars really aren’t too far behind at 49,500 searches.
As for other competitive spaces, examples abound. Consider makeup subscriptions—Ipsy (823,000 searches) and Birchbox (673,000 searches) are in a very close race within that expanding category. In women’s consignment clothing, Poshmark leads (673,000 searches) but thredUP isn’t far behind (368,000). For car sharing, Zipcar clocks in with 368,000 searches and car2go with 201,100.
And even with recent PR troubles at Uber, the company dominates ride sharing with 16,600,000 monthly searches, compared with its nearest competitor, Lyft (83,000 searches).
Two categories struck us as quaint, but because of advances in technology, they’re both now trending. In the photo books category, Shutterfly dominates (2,240,000 searches) and in men’s shaving, Dollar Shave Club dominates (450,000 monthly searches) with little gained by its competitors Harry’s and Bevel, which have a combined monthly search volume of 65,900.
Which companies have the highest monthly volume on our list? They’re in two categories, both apps—payment and GPS. For the payment apps, PayPal is in the lead (30,400,000 searches), with millennial-favorite Venmo in a very distant second place (823,000). In the GPS apps category, Google Maps is at a towering 151,000,000 average monthly searches… and that’s being searched in Google!