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What is India searching during #COVID19 pandemic? Yahoo India announces before and after search trends online

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A lot can change in a month. No one knows this better than Indian users, whose online search priorities changed enormously through the COVID-19 lockdown which began in India on March 24. Yahoo today announced ‘Search in the Lockdown,’ which chronicles and compares what users in India searched for right before the country went into lockdown a month ago and new search priorities that have emerged since. These trends are based on users’ daily search habits in the last one month and an editorial selection of what they read, recommended and shared most on Yahoo.

Top search keywords/searches: COVID-19 searches record massive jump

Before COVID-19 began to rule the search bar, the top search keywords online (for news) included ‘Delhi election results,’ ‘Delhi riots / Delhi violence’ and ‘JNU violence’. The top searched keywords (people) included (US President) ‘Donald Trump’, (Delhi CM) ‘Arvind Kejriwal’ and (politician) ‘Jyotiraditya Scindia’.

Through the lockdown, Novel Coronavirus related searches rose by a whopping 427%. The top 5 COVID-19 keywords were ‘COVID-19 updates’, ‘Symptoms of COVID-19’, ‘COVID-19 treatment’, ‘COVID-19 death toll’ and ‘Live COVID-19 tracker.’

S. NO Top 5 Search Keywords On Covid
1 COVID-19 updates
2 Symptoms of COVID-19
3 COVID-19 treatment
4 COVID-19  death toll
5 Live COVID-19 tracker

Top searches related to the Novel Coronavirus included ‘Lockdown in India,’ ‘Vaccine for coronavirus,’ ‘Social distancing’ — a new term for most Indians, and Hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus — the anti-malarial drug that India is a leading producer of, described by US President Donald Trump as “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine” and a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Netizens scramble for WFH / productivity tools online

From pre-lockdown navigational searches for ‘WhatsApp Web’ and ‘YouTube,’ Indians, who had to overnight work and learn from home, searching for a new class of products and tools to stay productive. The following were the ‘Top 5 Most Searched Tools for Team Communication,’ that enabled students to learn and professionals to work together remotely through the lockdown:

  1. Zoom
  2. Skype
  3. Google Hangouts
  4. Microsoft Teams
  5. GoToMeeting

Most Searched Female Celebrity: Kanika Kapoor knocks Priyanka Chopra off the top

Social media favourite Priyanka Chopra was the Most Searched Female Celebrity online in pre-lockdown India, She was joined at No. 2 and No. 3 by regulars on this list Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone respectively.

That changed when singer Kanika Kapoor pipped these superstars to take the top spot on the list after she tested positive for COVID-19. (The UP police booked the singer for negligence for attending three social gatherings in Lucknow — this after her return from London and being instructed by the authorities to self-isolate.) Curiosity was at an all-time high about the singer, the chronology of her illness and her recovery online. In fact, Kanika Kapoor — known for her hits Babydoll and Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan — wasn’t just the Most Searched Female Celebrity, she was the Most Searched Celebrity among both male and female celebs, through the lockdown.

During the lockdown, Priyanka Chopra slipped to No.2, with Disha Patani, Deepika Padukone and Sara Ali Khan making up the Top 5 Most Searched Female Celebrities. Katrina Kaif slid off the top 5 completely in the last month.

S.No Pre-lockdown: Top 5 Searched Celebrities (Female) Post-lockdown: Top 5 Searched Celebrities (Female)
1 Priyanka Chopra Kanika Kapoor
2 Katrina Kaif Priyanka Chopra
3 Deepika Padukone Disha Patani
4 Kangana Ranaut Deepika Padukone
5 Neha Kakkar Sara Ali Khan

Lockdown celebs stayed in the news for their philanthropy, commitment to support COVID-19 causes and awareness, besides spreading cheer and rocking lockdown fashion for fans on social media.


Most Searched Male Celebrity: Amitabh Bachchan rises to rule

Superstars Rajinikanth (after Darbar), Salman Khan and Aamir Khan were top 3 in the Most Searched Male Celebrity category before the lockdown was announced. Post-lockdown, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth, active voices urging fans to stay safe through this period (and with some controversial tweets) took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the list of Most Searched Male Celebs. Salman Khan slid one place to No.3 — he put a new spin on the classic Sholay dialogue with, “Jo darr gaya samjho woh bachch gaya.” (Those who get scared, save themselves).

S.No Pre-lockdown: Top 5 Searched 

Celebrities (Male) 

Post-lockdown: Top 10 Searched Celebrities (Male)
1 Rajinikanth Amitabh Bachchan
2 Salman Khan Rajinikanth
3 Aamir Khan Salman Khan
4 Sunny Hindustani Akshay Kumar
5 Anil Kapoor Tiger Shroff

From public service announcements to generous donations and offering a glimpse of life in a lockdown, celebrities stayed in the public eye and accessible on social media. Actors Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff rounded off the Top 5 Most Searched Male Celebs through the lockdown. 

Top Entertainment Searches: The Resurgence of Ramayan

It was entertainment as usual pre-lockdown, with netizens in India searching for Big Boss, Drive, Tanhaji, Housefull 4 and Good Newwz as their top entertainment searches. After the lockdown, Ramayan broke through overnight to become the top entertainment search after it was re-telecast on Doordarshan — a demand that sprung up on social media, with users requesting mythological programs be brought back for people at home during the quarantine! Pandemic movie Contagion also jumped into the top 5. Indians however continued to search for fun viewing — Good Newwz, Tanhaji and Big Boss, made up the top 5 Entertainment Searches in the last month.

Top Entertainment Searches: The Resurgence of Ramayan

Top searches for OTT services during lockdown: Amazon Prime Video ahead of Netflix
As demand for OTT services spiked, searches for OTT services rose by 59% with users searching for streaming choices online.

The Top 5 Searches for OTT Services were:

  1. Amazon Prime Video
  2. Netflix
  3. Hotstar
  4. Voot
  5. Zee5

Top recipe searches: Dalgona Coffee craze hits India too

With restaurants shut and food delivery services interrupted, Indians searched online for ways to make their meals more interesting. Dalgona Coffee was trending across the world after going viral on social media and India was no exception. The recipe for this frothy caffeine cup rose to No. 1 on the list of Top Recipe Searches during the lockdown. Indians experimenting in the kitchen also searched for cake, paneer and chicken recipes. With staples like bread off the shelf for parts of the lockdown, users also searched for breakfast recipes online.

Dalgona Coffee craze

So do let us if any of these search keywords matches yours in the comments section below or tweet to us @theunbiaseblog

Social Media Evangelist | Gadget Guru | Model | Photographer | Ex- BlackBerry Boy - Now iOS | WP8 | Droid. Founder and Chief at ‘The Unbiased Blog’. I breathe in WiFi zone, prefer LTE over LIT. Ex MSFT, MCP, A+ and coder. I like news to be served to me on twitter.

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