Battling the Cold and Flu Blues


Image from: Anelina / Shutterstock

It’s a balmy 57 degrees here in the northeast corridor and it brought back memories of what it felt like last spring to take my jacket off for the first time and smell the fresh air. It also reminded me that I didn’t suffer from the infamous cold/flu that I typically suffer from in years past. What’s happening in the cold and flu space? Did I, and only I, really manage to escape the cold and flu season or do I have some fellow sufferers who managed to get away scot-free?

Looking at the landscape from, unique visitors year over year to the pharmacy section of the major .com sites listed below see increases in October and then declines into the winter season (likely due to flu shot information) however, visitation this December versus December of 2010 shows declines:

UVs to Pharm Sites

While visitation has decreased so has the % of traffic that visit the .com sites (listed below) and travel to the pharmacy section:

YOY Percent Change

Across the board, pharmacy sections of sites see lower visitation, further suggesting a milder cold and flu season.

We know that people hit the web when suffering from an ailment so I thought I’d see how search referral sources changed Y-o-Y from the 3 major search engines. Similar to the results seen in the charts above search referrals to cold and cough sites have also declined Y-o-Y:

YOY Referrals to Cough and Cold Site from Search Enginges

It seems as though I am not the anomaly when it comes to escaping the winter cold and flu virus. Users are showing decreased visitation to the pharmacy section of sites and decreases in online research behavior. Perhaps this begs further investigation in ulterior methods of pharmacy/condition research online. Maybe mobile is becoming a bigger player in space? Whatever the case may be, trending next year will become even more interesting in answering questions regarding cold and flu visitation and research declines.

About Pashmeena Hilal:
Pashmeena Hilal is a Senior Associate at Compete. Pashmeena does competitive analytics, POV's and surveys for the retail division of Compete. Before Compete Pashmeena was an agency account manager at Carat and Studiocom.

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  1. Ashley

    Although we would like to think we are all escaping the winter here on the east coast it looks as though Groundhog day has predicted yet 6 more weeks of Winter (hopefully still at 50 degrees, with no flu)!