The coronavirus outbreak, elections and Zoom meetings were on the minds of U.S. consumers this year, according to Google’s list of the U.S. top trending searches in 2020, released this morning. These search trends don’t reflect the most-searched for words and phrases across Google, but rather those that saw high spikes in traffic over a sustained period of time during the year, as compared with 2019. This paints a more accurate picture of consumers’ changing interests during the year than Google’s top searches would.
The lists of top Global search trends had a similar set of results.
In the U.S., Election results was the No. 1 top trending search, followed by Coronavirus.
The PlayStation 5, Zoom and the names of several celebrities we tragically lost in 2020 also made the list.
In order, the top trending searches of 2020 were: Election results, Coronavirus, Kobe Bryant, Coronavirus update, Coronavirus symptoms, Zoom, who is winning the election, Chadwick Boseman and PlayStation 5.
The top trending News searches reflected similar trends, with Elections, the pandemic and other related impacts making the list. There was a lot of bad news in 2020, including natural disasters and the largest stock market crash since 1929 (the Coronavirus Crash), which made the list, too.
In order, the top trending News searches were: Election results, Coronavirus, Stimulus checks, Unemployment, Iran, Hurricane Laura, Super Tuesday, Stock Market, Murder hornet and Australia fires.
Google’s year-end search trends also highlighted top people, actors, politicians, athletes, musicians and losses of the year, with the U.S. No. 1s going to Joe Biden (top people search trend and politician search trend), Tom Hanks (who got COVID in 2020), Ryan Newman, Shakira and Kobe Bryant.
The year-end review also broke out other topics, like top trending TV shows, sports teams, songs, movies, games and more.
The No.1s across these lists, in order, included the Netflix viral hit, “Tiger King,” the Boston Celtics, “WAP,” “Parasite” and Among Us.
Globally, many of the top trends remained the same, with Coronavirus, Election results, Kobe Bryant, Zoom and IPL as top search trends. Meanwhile, the Coronavirus, Election results, Iran, Beirut and Hantavirus were top trending News searches.
There were other similarities across subtopics, too, like No. 1s which included Tom Hanks, Ryan Newman, Among Us, “WAP,” “Parasite,” Joe Biden, “Tiger King,” and more.
Beyond the terms themselves, Google says there were other apparent trends that emerged from its data. This year, people continued to use Google to ask “why” to learn about the world. Although, this year, many of our “why” queries were related to COVID — like where to buy toilet paper, face masks and hand sanitizer, and top “where to buy” search trends. We also looked for nearby places like covid testing and early voting centers, as well as protests in our “Near Me” searches.
And, despite everything, people remained optimistic as Google users searched for ways to spend time in coronavirus lockdowns. Searches for “sourdough bread recipe” hit an all-time high, for example. Other popular food searches included whipped coffee (thanks TikTok!), Disney churro, Dole whip and others. Top trends in “how to” searches reflected a world where we learned to stay at home, doing things for ourselves — like how to cut hair, or cut bangs, or color hair at home, as well as work from home, take virtual field trips, go on virtual dates and more.
Searches for Black Lives Matter increased five-fold over 2019, as well.
These searches and those for other supported markets can be viewed on Google Trends.