‘What Time Is Boris On?’ How Did The UK Use Google Search In 2020?

Posted 14.01.2021

By Annabel Thomas

2020 saw the world as we know it change dramatically. The reflection of the pandemic can be seen through Google Trends, which maps out and analyses patterns in Google search terms. We can discover how people are living, working, shopping and what they are worried about in light of the current crisis. 

Key political, social and worldwide trends and events are mirrored through Google searches, for example, in 2020 UK searches for ‘racial equality’ nearly doubled. Many of us felt stressed out and had trouble sleeping as ’insomnia’ reached an all time high search volume in 2020. Searches for ’support small businesses’ doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year. These insights are invaluable to marketeers, who can use the data to make insights into consumer patterns, helping to make informed marketing decisions. A key consideration for 2021 is which marketing trends will be sustained post-pandemic, and how can we align our marketing strategies to accommodate these?

2020 google searches

So, what were some of the top Google searches in 2020?

Here are some of the top UK searches in the year 2020. For the full breakdown take a look at the Google Trends list

The top 5 searches last year were:

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

Questions people were asking include…

  • How to cut your own hair
  • How to boost the immune system
  • When will gyms reopen?
  • How to make bread
  • Who won the election?

Long-term search trends & how to adapt post pandemic

1. Rise of online

Our shopping habits have changed dramatically during 2020, and more and more of our shopping is now done online. Online shopping searches changed hugely last year, consumers now expect to have everything delivered. We saw a rise in ‘afternoon tea deliveries uk’, ‘balloon deliveries’ and ‘paint deliveries’. This shift means businesses need to adapt their digital infrastructure and consider their virtual customer journey. You might need to restructure your business model and invest in digital technologies to support online shopping. 

Whilst the physical store is currently in decline, once life returns to normal, we will likely see an increase in consumers looking to use a hybrid approach e.g. click & collect shopping options. Apps are also being used to replace traditional in-person interactions. For example, Starbucks has launched an app for ordering food & drink in store, helping to reduce unnecessary queueing and the physical footprint in it’s cafes.

2. Changing wellbeing habits

It is important brands understand and adapt to growing trends. As a nation, we have become more invested in our health and fitness, with 3 out of 4 adults in the UK reporting a change in their wellbeing habits during 2020. These changes lead to an increase in searches around health & wellbeing, there was a 1000% search increase in ‘virtual fitness classes’, an increase in ‘yoga mats’ searches and ‘meditation for anxiety’. These trends are likely to continue as people want to invest in their wellbeing post Covid-19 and find affordable, at-home ways to stay healthy & happy.

3. Real time information

People want to know real time and live information. The pandemic meant constant lockdowns, tiers and restriction changes to our daily lives. People were searching ‘can we meet in a pub’, ‘what tier am I in’, and as restrictions ease, the demand for real time, live information will likely continue. People will want to know what time concerts start, when the next train is, what time their local pub closes. It is important to keep your business information up to date on sites such as Google My Business.

4. Localism & Sustainability

We have become more aware of the environment and our contribution to sustainable consumption. Searches during the pandemic for ‘how to be sustainable’, ‘how to stop climate change’, and ‘local farmers market’ increased. Demand for local produce, shops and restaurants will likely to continue to be popular post-covid. So make sure your business is visible locally, we can help with local SEO.

2020 changed many aspects of our daily lives. Keeping up with the changing trends and demands of consumers is important. Get in touch if you need any help in adapting your business digitally to accommodate new marketing and search trends.

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