Almost one month into nationwide lockdown, it would be very interesting to see what Indians Googled during last one month. The trends are extremely different pre-Covid-19 era and changing every single day based on trending news and media coverage.
With roughly 8.4% Indians using Google search engine for seeking information, in a population of 1.35 billion people, this translates into 113.4 Mn (approx 11 Cr) people.
Also, an average person conducts 3–4 Google searches every single day, which translates into 339 Mn(approx 33 Cr) search queries on Google from India.
With Google having Search Engine Market Share of 96.63% in India, the trends in terms typed in Google can be used as a rough estimate of knowing what Indians were interested in doing during the lockdown.
Google does not provide an absolute number of a search term, instead provides a relative measure on the scale of 0 to 100 to identify the trend in search interest of any term.
Coronavirus and its related terms like corona+, coronavirus symptoms+, terms related to throat+, fever+ and cough+, all saw spike in search interest during lockdown.
Infact, the trend followed the pattern of coverage of Covid cases in India by Media.
From the graph, Small spike was seen during end January (some cases reported in Kerela), next spike on March 3 (onset of more cases in India), and highest spike between March 26 – 30 (announcement of lockdown and more Covid-19 cases rising).
The exact terms which got the highest spike related to ‘coronavirus’ were like, ‘thank you coronavirus helpers’, ‘www.worldometers.info coronavirus’, ‘world coronavirus list’ However, during 7 days period as defined, terms such as ‘asymptomatic’ and ‘surat coronavirus case’ were more searched based on the events of Surat migrant workers/rise of asymptomatic cases in India.
Huge spike was seen in Grocery related terms, especially on March 25, just a day after lockdown can be attributed to panic buying and uncertainty. However, the search interest reduced the next day itself maybe because of the non-availability of the grocery online or assurances by the Indian government of supplying the essential items.
Terms such as ‘online grocery delivery near me’ topped the search interest, however, brands like Big Basket, Zomato, Amazon, Dmart, Big Bazaar were also on top of the mind of users when ordering online.
While on March 25, Big Bazaar the was most searched term for grocery related searches by users, followed by Big Basket and Grofers, it got behind in the month of April by Dmart and Big Basket. (See graph, April 9)
This was really good time for brands to get considerable share of the search market on Google for their industry (online grocery) and stick their brands in the minds of the users.
The proportion of search interest also varied largely for different brands. While Tier 2 cities like Lucknow and Ghaziabad topped search interest in Big Bazaar, Big Basket was largely opted by Metro users. Mumbai based Dmart group was searched most by Maharashtra users.
Unusual search interest hike was seen in term ‘lady buys grocery’ on April 17, mainly because of a puzzle which got viral during that period.
How To (Query)
Looking at the trends of ‘How to’ queries, between January and March (Pre Covid-19), users were more inclined towards fitness, losing weight, however, post-March 21, and during lockdown, Indians ditched fitness goals and instead turned Masterchef at home.
Search terms looking for recipes making cake-like ‘How to make cake’ was aggressively searched during lockdown.
Terms like ‘How to make Dalgona coffee’, ‘How to use Zoom app’, ‘ How to delete Zoom account, ‘How to play Ludo’, ‘How to make Beer at home’ got massive spike during lockdown. These are those terms which had almost Zero interest before lockdown.
In fact, due to controversy related to data security issues storming Zoom app and advisory by most Governments against using Zoom app, deleting the Zoom app terms also got massive search interest from users.
You may call it the Jugad mindset of Indian people or always craving for entrepreneurship opportunity, the search interest in making sanitizer at home terms got massive spike even before the lockdown was announced, March 21. ‘How to make sanitizer at home’ got massive spike in search frequency.
Funny as it may sound, but Indian Google users were trying to find ways to boost immunity-related terms as well. ‘How to increase Immunity against viruses’ got some spike in trends during the lockdown.
Zoom Meeting App
During the lockdown, most Indians were working from home and the basic necessity became online video meetings for the employees.
By March 23, there was an upsurge in search interest for Skype and Zoom, however, for Skype, it was short-lived. Hangout did not even stand anywhere in comparison.
Zoom was the go-to app for work from home online video conferencing purpose for most users in India. The trend for the Zoom app was continuously rising till April 16 before seeing a small downfall.
An interesting trend to see that During 30 days period, the searches were mostly about Zoom meeting app and download, however, during past 7 days period, users were seeking information about Home Ministry advisory and guidelines on Zoom app, just shows how negative news can really affect the search pattern pan India about a brand.
Massive search interest was seen in online games app as well during the lockdown. Ludo, Chess, Tambola and Rummy were the most searched terms in the category of Online games.
Ludo is a clear winner in terms of online games app during the lockdown. Chess and rummy almost got similar search interest and tambola being the least preferred amongst others.
Search interest in online ludo apps was seen almost all over India with Tier 2 and Tier 3 category cities like Raipura, Panipat and Bhankrota near Jaipur leading the highest proportion of search interest. However, contrary to Ludo, interest in Chess was seen mainly from Metro cities.
Mahabharat Vs Ramayan
Huge spike was observed on March 28, the day when both the Programmes were aired on DD National, virtually from almost Zero interest before that day. The search interest in Ramayan was more than Mahabharat.
Comparing their search interest by region, Mahabharat got more users from Tier 1 and Metro cities whereas Ramayan was more searched among Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and states like UP and MP.
Visible Spike was seen in search terms related to ‘workout’ from March 26 and has continued the trend since then without dropping.
Terms like ‘tabata workout’, ‘home workout exercises’, ‘quarantine workout’, ‘best home workout app’, ‘cardio workout at home’, ‘Bipasa Basu workout’ got highest percentage spike in search volume during the lockdown.
Indians fascination for Abs has been long known. Among all body type workout exercises, Abs workout was most searched term followed by Chest workout during lockdown. The search interest in Abs workout is still growing strong till April 20.
With so many Memes going viral on the internet on how almost all men in India have turned into Masterchef during the lockdown, and all kinds of cooking skills at the display, it was evident that users will turn to Google for recipe related search terms.
From March 25, search interest for ‘recipe’ related terms started to rise and peaked by April 10. The search interest is still going strong.
Cake recipe related terms clearly was the favourite recipe to make for Indians during the lockdown. Its interest was almost double that of other recipes like Chicken, Paneer or Dal. However, Dalgona Coffee recipe got the highest percentage spike followed by Gol Gappe recipe during the lockdown.
With a huge surge in demand of OTT platforms for entertainment purpose due to nationwide lockdown, Netflix was the most searched OTT platform on Google followed closely by Amazon Prime. These platforms search interest is still going strong till April 20.
Ramayan and Mahabharat led DD National, made a significant dent to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, at least on March 28, when Mahabharat and Ramayan were telecast. However, the search interest was short-lived and it reduced significantly later.
Netflix users were mainly looking for Freud (Freud is an Austrian-German crime television series) and Hasmukh (Hasmukh is an Indian dark comedy web television series) on Google.
Panchayat and Shikara movies on Amazon Prime and Ramayan on DD National got most search interest hike during the lockdown.
Lockdown was a great opportunity for many corporate employees to upskill themselves through Massive Open Online Courses platform (MOOC). Search interest related to term ‘Online Courses’ saw major spike on April 15, which can be attributed to declaration of 2nd phase of lockdown in India on April 14.
Top search terms were ‘Free online courses’, ‘online Harvard courses’, ‘online certificate courses’, ‘free Harvard online courses’. Terms which got highest percentage spike were ‘tata online courses’, ‘online courses during lockdown’, ‘tata steel online courses’. The highest spike was seen towards online courses provided by Tata Group and Tata Steel online courses.
However, past 7 days search trend was inclined towards finding courses provided by Kerala Government through www.asapkerala.gov.in and IIT Kanpur python related courses.
Out of all the MOOC platforms existing online, Udemy and Coursera saw increasing trends after a lockdown in India, March 23. Udemy was the clear favourite for Indian users followed by Coursera during the lockdown.
Finally, The Ultimate Winner from above list:
Grocery Vs Ramayan Vs Recipe Vs Zoom Vs Netflix
With some rough estimate and based on data available, we can say 4 things about the behaviour of Indians during lockdown:
- For Indians, making food at home was the most important activity during lockdown for passing time.
- Watching Netflix and Ramayan comes only after they have a good session at being Masterchef and eating good food.
- Work priority comes after eating good food and binge-watching Netflix or Ramayan (Zoom comes at the fourth place).
- Sadly, grocery required for making food comes last for Indians compared to the above terms.
(Note: We analysed only those terms and topics which were either extremely viral online or were the most basic need of people during the lockdown. There might be many other topics left out which would have seen higher search interest during the lockdown, however, covering everything is not possible. So we are just providing a brief overview.)