Coronavirus: Google Search Data Tells the UK Lockdown Story of Solidarity

When the first cases of Coronavirus were reported in the UK, the most popular searches typed into Google included “valentines gift for men” and “cheap flights to Italy”…both typical searches for late January/early February.

Like with everything else to do with the global pandemic, we have seen behaviour in search engine use shift into areas that no-one could have predicted.

Alongside the quest for knowledge about the virus including common symptoms and measures to protect families, there is a story in the data of solidarity and intent to participate in national and global moments that evoked our spirit in adversity and brought us together.

Watch the story unfold below that includes The Queen, a baked potato, Welsh goats, a 100 year old athlete and a sustained demand for rainbow outlines that now grace almost every street in the UK.

The data was sourced from Google Trends which shows search interest over time, giving a maximum score of 100. Using this index to calculate the peak of each moment, the top 10 are as follows:

It’s such an interesting time to be studying online behaviour. These search trends really tell a story of solidarity and participation. Six of the top ten most searched for happenings relate directly to supporting frontline workers and thanking the NHS.

Sam Zindel, MD at Search Listening

From the things we love, to our deepest secrets and what we actually want to buy; publically available search data can tell us so much about the behaviours, motivations and intent of 1.7bn people, every day. This data is an incredibly valuable source of insight to understand how people are thinking and feeling – particularly at a time of uncertainty. Lots of companies use Social Listening to garner insights from social media data but very few are taking the same approach with search data and it’s a huge miss.

Sophie Coley, Founder of Search Listening
Sophie Coley

Work with Search Listening

At Search Listening, we meticulously analyse search engine queries to spot trends and insights that help content planners, consumer insight teams and those leading businesses. We work with companies across all sectors and in the current time of uncertainty about consumer behaviour, Search Listening can help you uncover early signals of intent and demand returning to your market. Search is often the earliest signal you can pick up, from possibly the best focus group you never knew you had. Contact us at to discuss how we could partner with you.

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