5 ways lockdown is changing what we search for online

By Tristan Morris


1. Online schools

  • Parents need help with home schooling. The term ‘Carol Vorderman maths’ has increased by over 5000% and ‘home school your kids on fractions’ has gone up by 400% year-on-year.
  • Influencers are on board too. Joe Wicks, has become the nation’s PE teacher and Google has seen a 5000% increase in search volume for the term ‘Joe Wicks fitness’.
  • With so many people working from home or furloughed, online learning is booming. It’s a huge opportunity for almost everyone to get new professional skills to further our careers after the lockdown, or to pick up a new hobby or activity to kill time.

Source: Quartz. Com, 2020; WARC, 2020

2. Virtual Pub

  • One of the most emotional moments for many Britons was the closure of all pubs. But almost three quarters of consumers are now live streaming events, so the demand is there for businesses to sell their products through a virtual environment. 
  • Pubs such as Craft Union are organising weekly virtual pub events to stay connected with their customers – and attract new ones. 
  • Online pub events include virtual quizzes, happy hours with mixologist master classes, and streaming live music. Quizzes, music and master classes have always been great drivers of footfall for pubs. Now they are becoming great drivers for brand loyalty instead. And when our world goes back to normal, pub chains like Craft Union will find themselves with a bigger, more loyal customer base.
  • Independent pubs are also embracing the virtual pub idea.  The former landlady of The Noel Arms in Melton Mowbray for example, has set up her virtual pub on Facebook – and had to hire extra staff to cope with 14,500 customers. Her virtual pub has attracted people from Australia, USA, Canada, Spain and Italy, all now enjoying live music, quizzes, DJ sets and open mic and comedy nights every week.

Source: Fullers.co.uk, 2020; Mirror, 2020


3. House Party

  • More than a third of the world’s population, an estimated 3 billion people, are currently stuck at home. But social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Even the World Health organisation is now urging everyone to stay connected by playing games at home.
  • Fortunately it has never been so easy to download online chat and gaming apps that allow people to communicate and play games in real-time with their friends and family, so it’s no surprise, that there is now a huge increase in downloads of these apps. 
  • The House Party app’s popularity has skyrocketed, with several million downloads in the past few weeks. It is most popular with Gen Z users and is now the 14th most popular free app in the App store.
  • With people forced to work and learn from home, apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack have also seen spikes in downloads. They have become essential to daily life during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Source: Business Insider, 2020 The Guardian, 2020; Independent.co.uk, 2020

4. Food Delivery


  • With most people in self isolation most of the time, online food delivery is going to be one of the winners of the Covid-19 situation.
  • The revenue of the UK’s online food delivery sector is already up 11.5% versus the comparable period last year, standing at a healthy £4,215 million so far. According to Statistica, the number of people using food delivery has now reached 22.5 million, a 9.8% increase over the same period in 2019.
  • Now that the government is heavily discouraging unnecessary social interaction, brands such as Deliveroo’ and Domino’s Pizza are gaining in popularity by offering contact-free delivery services, with no human interaction required at all.
  • Also, many pubs and restaurants that never considered offering home delivery before have now started to offer food deliveries through apps like Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Source: Food navigator.com, 2020

5. Divorce Lawyers

  • Finally, here’s one growing search term you may not have expected (or maybe you did!).
  • According to the Daily Mail, online searches for ‘I want a divorce’ have soared by 154% on Google, and phone calls to divorce lawyers have surged by 40%.
  • It seems that many Brits’ relationships are crumbling under the stress of living together in quarantine and financial uncertainty.  Both factors can heighten pre-existing tension and/or issues between couples during this Covid-19 situation.
  • At the same time wealthy clients are rushing divorce settlements as their assets are being devalued by the Covid-19 crisis. These wealthy spouses see the current financial crisis caused by Covid-19 as an opportunity to get an advantageous divorce settlement.

Source: Daily Mail Online, 2020



During these unprecedented times, search is a smart way to gauge what’s on consumers’ minds. We can then use the insights to activate tactics that maximise sales.

The question is, will these changes in behaviour create a long-term shift in attitudes to our daily routines, or will we return to old patterns?

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