“Quaran-topics”: Lockdown Fads That Have Already Been and Gone
Article by: Calum Chipchase • 21 April 2020
With the Coronavirus-induced lockdown passing 4 weeks in the UK, so much of our society has changed rapidly. People across the country are stuck in their homes 24/7 and, as a result, our online searches have been going haywire. Viral stories have even shorter life spans than they did before and our internet habits have shifted in line with our new indoor needs.
Since search engines are our speciality, we thought we would take a look at some of the most exploding ‘quarantopics’ and find out what we were all loving in week 1 of lockdown that has quickly been kicked to the kerb as we round off our first month.
The UK’s Top 5 ‘Quarantopics’ – Overall
The 5 topics that caught our attention in the UK the most, with the most meteoric rise and fall in the public consciousness since the lockdown started.
2. Joe Wicks
3. Vitamin C
5. Dalgona Coffee
The UK’s Top 5 ‘Quarantopics’ – Year-on-Year Change
Comparing the interest in these topics to last March, the 5 with the most increased interest thanks to corona.
1. Dalgona Coffee – +90,000% interest
2. Bamboo Toilet Paper – +1956% interest
3. Bidet – +805% interest
4. Oximeter – +650% interest
5. Elderberry – +513% interest
A brand new phenomenon, the Dalgona Coffee is the king of the quarantine with a staggering 90,000 more searches this year than last.
The way people search around the world can tell us a lot about how we are collectively thinking during this unprecedented time and here are some of the more interesting subjects that have caught our attention so far.
With antivaxxers conspicuously quiet at this time, we, of course, needed a new conspiracy theory to latch on to. Welcome: 5G. Celebrities including Eamonn Holmes, Amanda Holden, Woody Harrelson and Amir Khan have all shared their wacky, unsolicited thoughts on the link between 5G tech and COVID-19, to the dismay of rational thinkers everywhere. Hopefully, the topic which so enthralled us momentarily whilst in lockdown doesn’t see a resurgence any time soon.
2. Joe Wicks
Meanwhile, fitness star Joe Wicks who is offering free Youtube workouts aimed at kids saw an explosion of interest in late March which has since dwindled, perhaps the novelty has worn off?
3. Vitamin C
The common cold cure-all interest in Vitamin C spiked early in lockdown, before we were assured that the supplement wouldn’t do much in the face of COVID-19.
Another medicinal attempt to fight off the coronavirus, Ivermectin is often used to fight off parasites like lice but was found to prevent replication of the virus in vitro – sadly, not an effective cure or preventative measure (and definitely don’t inject it!)
5. Dalgona Coffee
A Tik Tok trend that may have bled onto your other social media timelines, the Dalgona coffee is a South Korean whipped coffee treat with just 3 ingredients. The quarantine so far has been characterised by botched self-haircuts, bread baking and home improvement, but the Dalgona coffee was something that kept many of us entertained for a day or two.
A pulse oximeter is effective at measuring your breathing rate, which can be useful for people who are worried they have coronavirus symptoms. A flash-in-the-pan interest here suggests people stocked up early just in case.
For a brief period, toilet paper became more precious than gold across the world, and that had an interesting influence on our search habits. The lack of toilet paper in supermarkets gave us a brief appreciation for the humble bidet.
“How hard can it be?” Parents around the world asked themselves when they heard their children would be learning from home indefinitely until the pandemic was over. But, while we happily googled homeschooling, searching for lesson plans and ways to make learning fun, we soon got tired of the effort and recognised the sainthood of being a teacher.
Understandably, searches to do with health gadgets and natural cures have been particularly popular worldwide, including a brief interest in elderberries, which were supposed to be a way to ward off coronavirus. Interest spiked early in the lockdown but this trend hasn’t seen as much of a dramatic fall as some of our others.
10. Augmented Reality
A spike in searches for this term suggests many of us planned to use the wonders of virtual reality to escape our situation, but soon found there to be no escape from the claustrophobia of our own homes.
11. DIY Masks
Though public opinion on the effectiveness of cloth masks in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is patchy, that hasn’t stopped searched for “DIY Masks” from spiking over the last month. This term is most searched for in Trinidad & Tobago, with the UK placing 13th internationally.
12. Bamboo Toilet Paper
Searchers also tried to think outside of the box in their quest for loo roll, leading to a brief rise in interest for “bamboo toilet paper”.
13. Aviation Gin
Owned by movie star Ryan Reynolds, Aviation Gin enjoyed heightened attention as the main ingredient in a “Quarantini” – a cocktail made with Aviation Gin and Emergen-C, an America Vitamin C supplement. Sadly, it won’t stop the drinker from catching Coronavirus, so we quickly lost interest.
14. Stand-up Meeting
Hailed as an office innovation, the stand-up meeting is supposed to encourage short meetings through the discomfort of standing for standing so long. With office workers everywhere working from home, many of us would probably relish the concept of standing up for some much-needed exercise and a little change of scenery. However, our searches show that interest in this quickly dwindled as we accepted our couch-oriented fate.
15. Terraforming of Mars
My personal favourite, the amount of interest around our progress in terraforming the red planet, ready for future human colonies saw a little leap in interest while we’re all stuck in the house.
The interest in different ways of keeping fit during lockdown has seen a rise and fall in different trends. Luxury e-bike brand Peloton enjoyed an initial spike but has since seen interest fall, Hight Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) searches have remained steadily stronger throughout and “cycling shorts” (no doubt to ride your fancy new Peloton) are only just starting to grow in volume.
What Trends Are Still to Come?
In addition to the rise and fall of these peculiar topics, we also noticed a couple of popular searches that could indicate what the future holds for lockdown searching.
1. Dark Web
More people seem to be pushing the boundaries of what they can get away with at home, with searches for “dark web” reaching their highest point in the last three months.
2. Dog Toothpaste
Our Instagram and Twitter feeds were initially crammed full of pictures of people’s pets captioned “new coworker” but office tensions have since risen, with a very recent spike in searches for dog toothpaste.
We really do love to torture ourselves. There’s been an upward curve of people using the search term “damnation” since late March. A little too on the nose?
For year-on-year increase data, we used SEO Monitor’s Search Trends Tool.