COVID-19, What the UK has been Searching

Since March 23rd the UK has been in lockdown flipping people’s worlds upside down. In this blog post we are going to take a look at Google search trends around the Covid-19 outbreak to identify peak searches and what users have been searching for during this time. 

Search Interest

From the graph we can see that overall search interest in the UK for Coronavirus peaked on Monday 16th March with a decline until the 22nd March where searches began to pick up leading to the Prime Minister’s lockdown announcement on Monday 23rd March. Search interest declines until Saturday 4th April where this increases and stays level on Sunday 5th April, the day in which Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital with Coronavirus symptoms and the Queen addressed the nation.

During this time there has been interest in searches for hand sanitiser, face masks and hand washing. The below graph indicates a surge in searches for hand sanitiser, peaking on Wednesday 4th March with a similar peak on Friday 13th March. This time frame between 1st March to 20th March indicates the panic buying period for this product. Since then searches around hand sanitiser have declined with more interest in face masks. Face mask searches peaked on Thursday 2nd April with a decline followed by a further increase in interest on Monday 13th April. Searches for hand washing to stop the spread of Coronavirus peaked between Thursday 12th March to Tuesday 17th March following a number of online news outlets posting content on the importance of washing your hands during this period.

Search Queries Over the Past Week

Whilst pubs, restaurants, barber shops, schools and more are closed, the UK has been searching a number of “how to queries” during this time. Following from the recent warm weather which would of been more than a perfect excuse to visit the local beer garden, Brits have been taking to Google for instructions to make their own favourite tipples at home with “how to make a mojito” queries increasing by 180%, “how to make sangria” rising by 160%, “how to make a pornstar martini” up 120% and “how to make a pina colada” up 90%.

With schools closed, parents have been turning to Google for some ideas on how to keep their children entertained during the lockdown with the query “how to make rice krispie cakes” increasing by 110%, “how to make cornflake cakes” up 70% and “how to draw an easter bunny” rising 130%.

Trending Coronavirus Searches Over the Past Week

In this section we will look into the trending search queries around Coronavirus conducted over the past week. Below are the top 5 trending how to Coronavirus searches:

  1. “How to make a face mask easy at home” – As the demand for face masks has increased and the supply in shortage, Brits have been creative in making their own for going outside to carry out essential tasks.
  2. “How to claim 80 percent of wages” – As a number of the workforce across the UK have been placed on furlough, the Government have introduced measures for employees to be paid 80% of their wages.
  3. “How to volunteer for NHS during coronavirus” – During Coronavirus a number of retired doctors and nurses have been asked to return to the frontline. Along with this the general public can volunteer to transport patients to and from hospital and carry out other non medical tasks.
  4. “How to make a face mask with ties” – Similar to number 1, there are a number of guides appearing in search for homemade face masks.
  5. “How to shop safely during coronavirus” – With social distancing in effect and a limit on the number of people allowed into shops and supermarkets. Guides on how to keep your distance whilst shopping have peaked in search.

The following top 5 questions have also been trending in search results over the past week:

  1. How long can coronavirus live?
  2. Why does Germany have less coronavirus deaths?
  3. How many people died yesterday from coronavirus?
  4. What is the peak of coronavirus in the UK?
  5. What time is the coronavirus briefing today?

Other Search Topics that have Risen During the Outbreak

IT Equipment

With a number of the UK workforce now working from home, searches for IT equipment such as extra computer monitors, printers, printer ink, webcams and more have seen increases during lockdown.

Toilet Roll

During the crisis, Brits began to stockpile toilet roll which is reflected here in the search trends during mid March.


Whilst the schools are closed, parents have been turning to online homeschooling resources to ensure that their children can continue to learn whilst at home.

Home Delivery

With supermarkets working overtime to supply the UK with produce, lockdown procedures have sparked a large increase in the use of home delivery.


During this pandemic, search is continuing to play a vital part in keeping people informed, educated and also continuing to help users find the essentials they need without having to leave their homes. Although there currently isn’t a lockdown end date, the internet is allowing us now more than ever to stay connected whilst staying at home to stop the spread of Coronavirus. 


Stay at home, stay safe!


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