Gluten Free Australia demand trends Previous Gluten Free Pages original analysis shows that Australia was one of the top gluten free online demand countries in the world. The following analysis uses Google data sets. At a value of 4.2 ‘celiac searches per month’ in 2008 Australia had a very healthy GF market. However another article showed that while its seasonal trend was stable and increasing, it was at a relatively low growth rate, compared to other global leaders such as USA and Canada. In fact Australia’s linear growth for 2008 was considered to be only 8% compared to the US at 37%.
Australian 2009 search volumes
The standard analysis of the online gluten free market uses Google data for the top 50 GF associated terms. These terms are sorted into seven groups as shown in the table below. While these groups may seem disproportionate, they allow a very useful comparison with developing economies online demand search patterns. For instance many developing markets often have the generic GF group at about half the proportion of the top 50 searches, than that shown by Australia.
Lower developed markets also tend to have a much larger volume apportioned to GF specific foods, such as GF bread, beer and chocolate. Last year’s (2009) gluten free search volumes for the top fifty terms have increased from 470K to 655K in Australia. This is a dramatic 37% increase over one year. Of the seven groups, the two major changes were that the generic gluten free group increased by 50%, while the celiac group decreased by 5%.
For the main generic GF group there was an increase in terms of 7 to 9, however the two main GF terms still retain a 55% proportion of the total generic group. The celiac group has decreased from 7 terms to 3 terms and its volume was similar to 2008 November monthly searches with a 2009 November search total of 70,800. The table below shows the growth rate in absolute monthly search volumes of the seven GF associated groups:
GF Group……… VOL 2008……… VOL 2009…% Increase
GF Generic……… 262,900………… 395,400………50%
Gluten diet………9,080……………… 17,400………..92%
GF Recipe……… 39,280…………… 71,000………..81%
Celiac……………… 74,200…………… 70,800……….. -5%
Wheat free………16,000…………… 27,600…………73%
Locations……… 3,780……………… 4,500………… 19%
Specific foods…35,380……………. 68,500………..94%
Australian Gluten Free Search group proportions
There are now an approximately equal number of monthly searches for the three groups of ‘celiac’ information, gluten free recipes and the third category of GF specific foods. The GF recipe group all contained a similar mix of words with the eight phrases (containing recipe or gluten) making up 71,000 searches. One of the more surprising results was the GF specific food group increasing its members from 16 to 19 of the top 50 terms, and its total volume from 35,380 to 68,500. While the top terms were related to bread (16,200) and GF flour (6,500) there were still a few people looking for dairy gluten free products (7,300), cakes (13,500) and chocolate (5,200). The pattern of the main generic group to remain relatively stable in its proportion of total terms and the celiac group decreasing in value was experienced across the leading online GF markets in 2009. This was experienced in America, Canada and United Kingdom (UK).
This effect is believed to be due to the celiac group search terms remaining relatively near zero growth (as discussed before in previous GFP celiac market demand trend research) and most other gluten free terms experiencing high growth rates. The growth rates may be caused by an increase in diagnosis rates, or the recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008 and friends and family (non celiac, also searching for gluten free foods) due to gift giving, restaurant going with celiac or more people finding they are gluten intolerant. Australian long term Gluten free SEARCH TRENDS Google provides data back to 2004 on some of the larger searched terms.
To give an understanding of how the general market is performing over time, the search volumes for the single term ‘gluten free’ is analyzed and used as a proxy for other associated gluten free terms (except celiac). The long term growth trend shows considerable volatility at the start of 2009. To understand seasonal effects it is better to analyze the search volume demand on a normalized plot. As the top 50 rated terms increased nearly 40% it is expected that this individual ‘gluten free’ term would show a good increase, and it does. The linear trend growth rate for ‘gluten free’ in 2008 in Australia was 16% while in 2009 it was 38%.
When the data for the last five years is normalized, all years have a tendency to have a peak in July (mid winter) and also in December (Christmas effect). The main difference with 2009 is that the winter peak was much more accentuated and that while it also went through a more pronounced September to November trough than usual. Its December peak value is 15% higher than where 2007 and 2008 search volumes finished in December.
Australian GF online demand has had its strongest growth of the last five years. However this growth has been much less than experienced in America or Canada. It will be interesting to see if the particularly strong growth over the end of 2009 will be continued in 2010 in the Australian market.