• 10 Dec 2020
  • 3 Min read

Google reveals the top UK searches of 2020

You can tell a lot about a year by looking at the most common Google searches. And, unsurprisingly, this year’s list of the top trending search terms shows that 2020 was dominated by one thing: the coronavirus pandemic.

This year has been a very stressful and confusing one, so it makes sense that people around the world have been asking “why?” more than ever before. Users also broke records for the number of times “what day is it?” was searched for in a 12-month period, which goes a long way towards showing just how disorientating 2020 has been.

Above all else, Covid-19 was the subject on everyone’s minds, and the top searches really reflected how people have been trying to adapt to the new normal.

What were the top trending searches in the UK?

Google’s Year in Search Report looks at trending topics across news, people, how-to’s, and more. You can look at the data to get a worldwide picture or filter it for 70 different countries. Here are the most popular queries from right here in the UK:

  1. Coronavirus
  2. US election
  3. Caroline Flack
  4. Coronavirus symptoms
  5. Coronavirus update

The most popular how-to searches really reflect how strange this year has been. We’ve seen shortages of essential products, new items have become vital to our everyday lives, and a lot of us resorted to giving ourselves at-home beauty treatments while salons were closed. Here’s what people were asking for help with:

  1. How to make a face mask?
  2. How to make hand sanitiser?
  3. How to make bread?
  4. How to get tested for coronavirus?
  5. How to cut your own hair?

As you might expect, a lot of businesses and marketers reacted to this shift by creating tutorials and guides that would help to answer a lot of the “how to” queries related to their work. For example, we saw many beauty experts sharing information about how to cut and dye your hair at home, gyms started to produce more home workout resources, and restaurant chains like Wagamama released some of their most prized recipes.

People had a lot of questions about current affairs and more specific details around the coronavirus, too. Plus, a viral TikTok trend sent people running to Google so they could find out whether an ingredient in vanilla flavouring does actually come from beavers. Here are the most asked questions from the UK:

  1. Who won the election?
  2. Where does vanilla flavouring come from?
  3. How many cases of coronavirus in UK?
  4. What is VE Day?
  5. How did coronavirus start?

This year has also involved a lot of waiting around for further updates, changes to restrictions, and general developments in the fight against Covid-19. So, understandably, a lot of “when?” questions were being asked. Here are the most common:

  1. When will lockdown end?
  2. When will gyms reopen?
  3. When does lockdown start?
  4. When will school reopen?
  5. When does furlough end?

Google’s Year in Search Reports always help to give an accurate picture of what a particular year has been like for everyone around the world, but most countries have been on the same page in 2020. The coronavirus has taken over most of our lives, leaving us wondering when things are likely to return to normal, how to keep up with our beauty treatments from home, and wondering how we can get hold of sold out essentials. Some people even started making their own.

The data serves as a fantastic time capsule that we’ll be able to look on in years to come and remember what this time of our lives was like. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but hopefully the Covid-19 crisis will turn out to be less of a concern in 2021.

Marc Swann

Search Director

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