The first week of September is the start of the high season for coworking spaces. In North America and Europe many people return from vacation and begin looking for a productive workspace. At the same time, an above-average number of new coworking spaces open their doors in this period.
This development is also visible through Google Insights and Google Trends, which show a higher demand for "coworking" during this time. Both tools are based on the same data, although Insights provides a more refined analysis, which is why we used this system.
The term “coworking” first gained the required search volume to break into Google Insights in March 2007. Since 2008, the term pops up more consistently in search data. Today “coworking” is search for four times more often than in 2009 - related to other search requests which also increased in general.
Coworking peaks in January, March and September
The highest increases each year were found in January, March and in the Northern Hemisphere autumn months, and even more so when a large number of coworking spaces open. The two major coworking conferences in the United States in March and Europe in November also fuel the search for "coworking", very likely as result of more media attentation.
By the end of December, during Christmas and the New Year, the interest in coworking drops significantly. Of course, interest in all forms of work decrease during the holiday period, not just coworking.
High interest in Spain, Poland, Germany and Brazil
In the past twelve months, four countries have seen the highest relative rate of coworking searches; Spain, Poland, Germany and Brazil. Google doesn’t compare to absolute numbers, but places them in relation to the volume of other queries in these regions and compares them together with "normalized" figures.
On relative terms to other search requests, interest in coworking in the US was highest in the years 2008 and 2009, and in 2010 and 2011 in Germany. Last year, the popularity of "coworking" in Spain, Poland and Brazil increased to a measurable range. Australia was notably absent from this list, surprising since it is rising in popularity there. Other English speaking countries such as the UK are also further back on the list. Perhaps this is because in non English-speaking countries, a certain English term is more representing a certain content, which than stands out on Google Insights even more.
Two Brazilian cities at the forefront
In the last twelve months, two Brazilian cities have become hotspots for the search term “coworking”; Curitiba and Porto Alegre. This doesn’t mean that these locations had the most number of searches, but that the number of searches was higher than other cities considering the overall volume of all searches.
Coworking became a popular term in these cities after new spaces such as Aldeia Coworking, NexCoworking and NósCoworking started last year, followed by an huge media attentation. NexCoworking even attracted people through these reports to open more spaces in other Brazilian cities. Currently, they have three coworking spaces, only 15 months after they started.
In between these Brazilian locations is Austin at No. 2. The Texas capital not only has a large number of coworking spaces, but also hosts the Global Coworking Unconference Conference during the South By Southwest conference, leading to a spike in search requests for the term.
Three European cities follow: Madrid, Berlin and Barcelona. The Spanish capital has seen the biggest jump in the past twelve months, perhaps assisted by hosting the first Spanish coworking conference in May; Madrid may also end up being the number one city for coworking searches by the end of 2012. In 2011, Berlin took first place, followed by San Francisco, Barcelona, Warsaw and Madrid.
The situation in the US
Five cities in the US appear in the Google Insights data from the start: Austin, followed by San Francisco and NYC. Los Angeles and Chicago are get a mention, but don't appear anymore when reducing it to the last twelve months.
All cities, of course, have an impact on the state level. California and New York belong to the hotspots in the US, where you also find most of coworking spaces. In the last twelve months, there was also high search traffic above average in Massachusetts, North Carolina,Texas, Illinois and Florida. When looking at all-time charts, Colorado, Washington and Minnesota join this list.
Even more tools for SEO and statistics nerds
Google recently released a new service called Correlate, which can be used to discover similar trends of various terms. The idea of this tool is to associate the request volume of certain terms with other often-searched-for terms, in order to may find a substantive relationship. In Germany, the term “coworking” was most often correlated with the term “social media", and in the U.S. with the “4 weeks” (as of Aug 19, 2012). The service is still experimental.