Covid-19: Four consumer insights from Google trends

The behaviour of the nation has changed drastically since lockdown began. How is the UK reacting and feeling, and what are we doing with our new-found time? Here are four interesting insights from Google Trends.

1) We’re thinking beyond our own basic needs when it comes to Coronavirus

Our top coronavirus related ‘how to’ questions (as of April 16th) are below. Some unsurprising ones here – helping us fulfil basic needs like shopping safely, figuring out how we can still get paid, and perhaps a new resourcefulness creeping in with – ‘how to make a face mask’. Encouragingly, amongst these safety and survival based questions, one that looks towards the greater good; ‘how to volunteer for the NHS’ is also trending.

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2) We’re cooking and gardening a lot…

No surprises here – we only need look as far as the national shortage of self raising flour and our Instagram feeds to see that everyone is baking. But last week Think with Google reported that, more than just cooking at home, we are positively embracing it – with searches for basic and luxury home cooking appliances increasing in the UK and globally. Just look at the trajectory of the search term ‘pizza oven’ in the UK over the past 3 months. Google also noted that this trend has been echoed around the world with ‘waffle maker’ trending in Turkey and ‘stand mixer’ in France. Quattro formaggio anyone?


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We also had a quick look at what Google Trends was telling us with regards to gardening. The search term ‘garden plants’ has rocketed since lockdown began. And it’s not just seasonality – the graph below shows the past 2 years, and you can see the usual Spring spikes. Proof that lots of us are embracing a slowdown and getting back to nature.


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3) We’re doing yoga, and we made a smash and grab for a set of weights

Since lockdown began, we have seen an increase in Yoga related search terms. This falls in line with findings from global consumer sentiment tracking by McKinsey – in which Brits stated that they expect to spend up to 15% more time on meditation or mindfulness in the next two weeks.

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There was also a huge spike in the search term ‘weights’ around about the time that the gyms were closed, which shows that for many gym-goers, not working out was unacceptable and required swift rectification.

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4) Interest for online courses peaked, but has now returned to pre-Covid 19 levels

The search term ‘online courses’ hit a high around March 30th, but has now petered off to pre Covid-19 levels. Did all the people who wanted a course find one and are merrily getting on with it? Or was this a short-lived enthusiasm… as Netflix and the biscuit tin proved more appealing? We suspect the latter.

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Beyond a heightened interest in homemade pizza, some long-lasting consumer shifts will come out of this unprecedented period – and marketers will need to stay on top of what these are to remain relevant to and connected with their audiences. 

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