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Does Recession Equal Less Whoopie?

Pregnancy searches down 37 percent

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Despite Hitwise’s Heather Hopkin’s proximity to prolific pregnancy, searches for “pregnancy” are down 37 percent over last year, and searches for “maternity clothes” are down 74 percent.

Baby names, too—searches for those are down 40 percent.

Indeed, about this time last year my wife delivered the news (well, I sort of walked in on her while she was still mouth-agape in shock), and Yahoo confirmed pregnancy-related searches had spiked just after New Year’s, just as they had done the year before. My colleague Mike Sachoff reported “pregnancy” was still the number one searched health condition in early April—just after Spring Break.

Yes, I am insinuating something.

Hopkins found that, historically, between December and January traffic to baby-related sites surge. But not this year. This year they’re down 15 percent, and since January 2006 have actually plummeted by 30 percent. It wasn’t long after that that whispers of a real estate bubble started—the FBI was apparently aware of it in 2004.

But the news didn’t really hit home until former President Bush marched out to a podium flanked by the two most powerful financial men on the planet and said everybody’s screwed already.

So maybe we just stopped.

You know, the one time I ever went to a cattle auction, they shooed all these cows (I don’t know, maybe 20 or 30?) into the auction area and a man I couldn’t understand at all began speaking rapidly as men and women raised their hands. In the midst of the excitement and overcrowding, one bull, either out of nervousness or because he’d gone mad with instinct (everycow’s death was pending after all), did, well, what comes naturally to a bull.

And somehow that made a lot of sense to me.

When in doubt, procreate.

But Hopkins speculates that a bleak financial future caused everyone to tighten their belts, so to speak. That makes interest in pregnancy and baby-related information and goods an economic indicator. She provides other theories: aging population, housing prices (which started dropping in 2006).

I think that could be partly true. Plus, all those happy accidents from the year before, shock and awe at the pregnant “man,” and the phenomenon of the Octomom might have just soured us on the whole thing—at least for now.
 

Does Recession Equal Less Whoopie?
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  • http://www.francislee.com.au Francis Lee

    For some reason, this doesn’t really come as a surprise to me despite the fact that this is the first real recession I have been in.

  • http://randomplaza.com/help.anonymous.php Brave Agent Pubeit

    In other news, searches for “falcon punch” are up.

  • http://www.brane.com.br Peter (IMC)

    Are they really down 40%? Then what does this mean:

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=pregnancy&date=all&geo=usa&ctab=0&sort=0&sa=N

  • http://www.masenka.be Masenka

    I think people are having more whoopie with the recession, because it is cheaper than opera tickets ;-)