It was a year turned upside down by a global pandemic, when a country in lockdown craved the comfort of home-cooked versions of Ikea meatballs and KFC take-outs while seeking instructions on DIY face masks and hand sanitiser.
From the predictable and mundane to the downright bizarre, Britons forced to spend more time at home in their kitchens and on their sofas turned to Google Search for inspiration on a wide range of activities and topics.
The results of Google’s 2020 Year in Search is a snapshot of the people, events, music and TV shows that captured the world’s attention, based on an aggregation of trillions of queries that people searched for this year.
Overall, coronavirus was the top trending search in the UK. As the world adapted to new ways of living, DIY took off and searches for “how to make a face mask” and “how to make hand sanitiser” were top of the “how to …?” list, closely followed by “how to make bread” and “how to cut your own hair”.
With favourite restaurants and fast food outlets closed for parts of the year, searches for “Ikea meatball recipe”, “KFC recipe” and “Wagamama katsu curry recipe” were propelled into the top 10 recipes. “Afternoon tea delivery” was the top trending delivery as people craved scones and dainty finger sandwiches, closely followed by wine and compost.
In fitness, the self-styled “PE teacher for the nation” Joe Wicks featured in three of the top 10 searches. Despite the negative impact of the pandemic on sport, searches for the Premier League topped the sports list as football fans rejoiced when the season kicked off again in June with Aston Villa against Sheffield United.
With more time spent at home during lockdown television programmes and movies were more important than ever before. Although the summer series of Love Island was postponed because of the pandemic, it was the top trending programme of the year as fans sought information about the reality dating show. The TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People scooped fourth place.
Kirstin Wright, a Google Trends expert, said: “The 2020 Year in Search lists give insight into the biggest events in the news, politics, sport, entertainment and popular lockdown trends.”
Other burning questions were for the lyrics to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s WAP – the most Googled lyrics of 2020 in the UK, while “where does vanilla flavouring come from?” was the second most searched for question. People also wanted to know “how to cook eel”, after I’m A Celebrity participants were given it for dinner.