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Olga Andrienko updated

How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Global Economy [UPDATED]

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This post is in English
Olga Andrienko updated
This post is in English
See how coronavirus is impacting industries world wide.

Industries Impacted by The COVID-19 Outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has not just severely impacted public health and well-being of people around the world; it has also affected behavioral patterns and daily routines. It has caused a ripple effect that’s shaken the entire global economy. 

Like any major economic disruption, some industries will fail, and others will thrive. The coronavirus is no exception. SEMrush has analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on online behavior to reveal industries that benefited or suffered. 

Positive Coronavirus Economic Impact 

Market Winners By Search Data And Traffic Trends

Remote Working Platforms

During this pandemic and period of self-isolation, an obvious game-changer that is reaping the benefits is remote working tools and platforms. 

Zoom Communications, a space designed for video conferences and webinars, skyrocketed from $108 on March 16 to $162 on March 23. An increase of 50% is staggering in itself and is even more astounding considering stock markets are slumping more than 30% — a true success story amidst a global crisis. Traffic to Zoom’s website has increased by 67 million site visits during the month of March. 

remote working platform zoom during coronavirus Search volume for Zoom also rose 1562% from February to March.For calling platforms, it appears that only Skype will likely see a greater rise this month. Among messaging platforms, the branded search volume for Slack, an instant messaging forum, jumped 82% from February to March, while Microsoft Teams jumped by 1014%. Here is the trend of searches for all analyzed services for remote work. 

remote working services software impact covid-19

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1687649/

As job uncertainty continues to rise, so do online searches for alternative employment. For the month of March, SEMrush also analyzed search results for indeed.com and were able to identify the most visited pages on their website. 

Amongst the top 15 pages, the fifth most visited was “remote jobs” indeed.com/q-remote-jobs.html - with a total of 22.9 thousand visits for the entire month. Close behind on page eight was a popular term, “work from home jobs” indeed.com/q-work-from-home-jobs.html, suggesting a new demand for work during isolation. 

Home Fitness

One-third of the world’s population has come under lockdown and is partially or completely stuck in isolation at their homes. SEMrush market data reveals a rising interest in online searches for home exercise, which has drastically spiked in March. Here is the trend of searches for all analyzed keywords related to home fitness.

Home fitness search data coronavirus crisis

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1687423/

In March, the search volumes for jump ropes increased by 123%. The online demand for yoga saw an 811% major increase, while fitness mats saw a 511% increase, and dumbbells, 397%

Streaming Platforms

SEMrush has found that some of the biggest streaming services gained an unprecedented rise in searches during March by 87.6% on average. Compared to February, searches for Disney+ grew by 232%. Disney+ was launched last year and has taken an early lead in the battle of second-wave streaming services. 

HBO branded search has gone up by 84%, which may be connected to the company’s several high-profile premieres in March. In comparison, at 83%, Netflix saw a little less increase than its rival. The most surprising boost, which saw branded searches up 122%, was shown by Kanopy. 

Online Gambling

While people are spending more time indoors, the gambling industry is growing. According to the Sydney Morning Herald on April 9th, spending on online wagering has increased by 67% during the past week, compared to average weekly spending. 

SEMrush data supports concerns that online gambling is indeed on the rise as traffic to gambling websites increased globally by around 9% during the month of March. Gambling sites are now booming and seeing a positive coronavirus economic impact.

Gambling website traffic increases during coronavirus

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1880834/ 

Dating

Social distancing is the new norm, and chances for a date are close to zero. Yet more and more people are signing up for dating websites. According to SEMrush Traffic Analytics, the traffic for online dating websites has been on the rise since January, and cupid certainly hasn’t slowed down as site visits increased by 2% in March.

Dating website traffic changes during the covid-19 pandemic

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1865494/

It doesn’t matter if you are swiping left or right, traffic for the desktop version of Tinder has seen a substantial rise of 6.24%. Meanwhile, badoo.com saw an increase of 3.35%, and ourtime.com saw a 6.5% jump in traffic. 

Food Delivery Companies

In most countries, there are groups of people on lockdown that want to improve their home cooking skills and also stick to social distancing rules, so they are avoiding leaving to shop for groceries. These people have been turning to food box delivery orders and supporting local restaurants by ordering take away via popular mobile applications. 

Food delivery services grow during coronavirus

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1689539/ 

Searches for food delivery services increased by 56% on average - depending on the company. Amazon Fresh and Instacart showed the biggest increase - with increases of up to 200%. 

Stocks 

The financial situation in the world is variable, but many of the world's stocks are trading at discounts that we won’t see ever again. In March, the traffic for global Stock Exchanges increased by 18.6%, highlighting the turmoil in the world's financial markets.

coronavirus economic impact on stocks

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1865795/

The greatest growth was for the pse.cz stock exchange, which saw an increase of 206.68%, while NASDAQ remains stable with an increase of only 2.97%. 

The most interesting for stocks on the NASDAQ are Tesla, Inc., Walt Disney Company, and Apple, Inc. Please note that the data is based on NASDAQ’s website’s top pages in March. 

NASDAQ top pages affected by coronavirus crisis.

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1865947/

Online Courses 

With more and more people finding themselves in lockdown and or isolation, it isn’t too surprising that interest in online courses has skyrocketed during the month of March. 

Search volume changes for online courses during coronavirus

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1866369/ 

From the results, it is clear that user behavior has changed drastically, which has caused a great impact on Google search results. Typically, the “Jobs and Education” Search Engine Result’s Page (SERPs) remains flat. However, last week saw a huge increase in volatility.

Jobs and education serp volatility changes during COVID-19

Online Courses For Kids 

Traffic to websites offering online courses and training for children saw an increase of 29.31% in March. 

online education impact covid-19

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1866137/

The most visited online educational website was Khan Academy, which saw a 48% increase in traffic during March 2020. As schools kick off online classes for students, the Deli government has initiated talks with 'Khan Academy' to explore a collaborative remote learning program. 

Cooking Websites

There are a lot of websites out there that can show you the best recipes. From learning how to make pasta to the creation of haute cuisine in your own dining room, the world is your oyster! 

The best thing about cooking these days is that websites are user friendly and enable step-by-step learning processes that you can read and sometimes even watch.

There is clearly a hunger for chefs at home to learn how to cook up new dishes; traffic to websites with recipes and cooking videos has risen by 6%. 

сooking services traffic changes during coronavirus covid-19

Not only have these four websites increased their site visits, but they have also seen a jump in the number of unique visitors as well. 

The Positive Coronavirus Economic Impact

Many retail consumer products and other companies are also benefiting during the current economic turmoil.

  • Moderna, a pharmaceutical company that is working on a coronavirus vaccine, saw its stock price jump from $18 on February 21 to a high of $32 on March 18. 

  • Cleaning supply company Clorox rose from $157 on March 12 to a high of $200 on March 17

  • Food wholesaler Costco increased from $281 on February 28 to $320 on March 4.

How often have you been told that you can’t get a dog because you ‘don’t have the time for it’? Or you can’t get a kitten because ‘you are not home enough’ to look after one? Well, it is clear people are wagging their tails with excitement in the USA as more and more people are looking to adopt pets while at home during the lockdown. 
Cat and dog adoption trends during covid-19

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1866441/ 

Between the dates of March 12 to March 28, there was a 300% plus increase in people searching for “adopt pet”, “adopt dog”, “adopt cat”, which highlights the desire to have furry friends to keep you from going barking mad during times of despair. 

Wikipedia Boom

Believe it or not, Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopedia, now sees that the majority of its most popular pages are those entirely dedicated to the coronavirus.

Wikipedia top pages on coronavirus covid-19

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1866068/

The Negative Economic Impact of Coronavirus

Airlines

  • As the crisis was beginning to unfold, airline stocks fell an average of 19.1% from February 19 to February 27. 

  • United’s stock was at $80 on February 20 before hitting a low of $21 exactly one month later, a decline of nearly 74%.

According to SEMrush data, Google search volumes for the major global airlines also fell. Branded searches within the overall industry average declined 7% from February to March, following a 17% decrease from January to February. In March, the worst hit was Austrian (-83%), Qatar Airways (-49%), and AirAsia (-45%). 

Traffic and search data for airlines doesn’t correlate with financial data because millions of people spent hours on airline websites and hotlines changing their travel plans. 

During February and March, airlines have been active on social media. We conducted a Twitter sentiment analysis to see the public’s wider reaction to each global airline.

Top 10 airlines people tweeted about the most in March: Tweets at airlines during covid-19 pandemic

Based on this list and the data - every single airline had more positive than negative tweets except one. Alitalia — the national airline of Italy, a country that is now the global epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic.

Lufthansa had the highest amount of tweets that used a negative tone. Meanwhile, Qatar saw the largest amount of tweets using positive language to describe the airline, followed by Southwest Airlines in the US, Turkish, and SAS. 

Share of positive vs, negative tweets for the top 10 airlines

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1687447/

Seven of the airlines saw a form of patriotic respect after having flags of each country posted as the most used emoji. Turkish Airlines, SWISS, Polish Airlines LOT, Air Baltic, Aeroflot, Alitalia, and Austrian Airlines, all saw a push for patriotism and support for their national carriers. 

Events Industry

Another industry that took a major blow due to the current climate was the Events industry. Conferences, music festivals, marathons, and the world’s biggest sporting events were shut down or postponed to a later date.

SEMrush’s social media analysis identified which events and cancellations sparked major online debate and caused disappointment on Twitter. Dominating the discussions were sporting events; the next most talked about industry was music festivals. 

Number of tweets about cancelled events due to coronavirus

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1688521/

According to the research, Ultra Music Festival, SXSW, Coachella, and Formula 1, are all key events in 2020 that have resonated the most with online audiences. Both Ultra and SXSW are being vague about offering refunds to their attendees, which is causing topical debate online for music fans. It’s clear the discussion is a hot topic trending on social media as more than 2,000 tweets utilized the money emoji ? in association with Ultra.

Amongst other top used emojis, we saw the crying face emoji ? to most likely express disappointment due to cancellations and date changes. 

emoji reactions to event cancellations due to coronavirus

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1688584/

Hotels

Hotel, resort, and cruise line stocks fell an average of 22.2% from February 19 to February 27. 

Carnival’s stock was at a high of $43 on February 20 but has since declined to $12 on March 18 — a fall of 72% from its peak.

image.png

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1687317/

Similarly, branded Google search volumes for major global hotels fell by an average of 33% from February to March. The worst-hit was Park Inn by Radisson (-55%), and the Kempinski, Crowne Plaza, Sofitel, and Disney Resort Hotels show around a 45% decrease. 

Weather Websites

The habit of looking at the weather before going outside is losing its relevance in the current situation. After all, who worries about the weather while on lockdown? 

However, the global pandemic seems to have resulted in only minor decreases in visits to weather websites. Weather sites in March were losing, on average, of 0.4% of their global traffic. weather impact covid-19

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1867827/

According to SEMrush’s analysis of the most visited websites to tell the temperature, weather.com has lost around 4% of its traffic in March. The estimated average monthly cost for ads also dropped by 5.98%. This pattern is reflected across other websites with Accuweather seeing a drop of 12% in ads spending over the same period. 

Restaurants 

In this climate, with social distancing rules set into place, there is simply no way to eat at local restaurants. If restaurants can’t provide delivery services, you are most likely going to miss out on eating your favorite meals. 

However, the restaurant industry is clearly adapting, with most of the main pages now stating “we have delivery”, highlighting how restaurant owners are transforming their businesses in order to survive. 

economic impact covid-19 on restaurants industry

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1867736/

When it comes to dissecting who has been hit the hardest, OpenTable saw losses of up to 11% of their site traffic, which is likely due to the fact that fewer people are now looking to make online reservations. Interestingly, even Mcdonald's saw a drop of 2% for their website

COVID-19 News In Online Searches

Google has altered its search results for coronavirus related queries. In just a matter of weeks, it has transformed a simple SERP with the SOS alert to a full-featured page. The result page for “coronavirus” has multiple SOS alerts, Help and Information features and Prevention, that we spotted in the US location after March 23. 

Coronavirus information in Google SERP.

Moree coronavirus information in Google search results as you scroll. A snapshot of Google search results for “coronavirus” showing COVID-19 alert labels, Knowledge Panels with clickable sections, common questions, and latest news from the media

SEMrush analyzed 30 of the most popular United States media platforms to identify who benefited the most from covering the COVID-19 news. The New York Times and NBC both secured top spots in Google by hitting the first pages of coronavirus related organic online results 40 times. NBC News has appeared on top of the SERPs for 36 times. 

On average, the coronavirus related keywords improved organic presence of the media by 4 positions. With SEMrush estimations, media traffic in March for top US news outlets will show an increase at least by 11%. 


The coronavirus outbreak is worse than anyone could have ever imagined. Here at SEMrush, we know how difficult and stressful this time is for each and every nation. Once we move past this crisis and ensure everyone is on the road to recovery, we will have to prioritize supporting one another and focus on repairing the impact on businesses worldwide.

Stay home and stay healthy! SEMrush will continue to provide you with the latest research, online search trends, and sentiment analysis that are key in highlighting the global economic change.

Olga Andrienko
SEMrush

SEMrush employee.

Olga Andrienko is the Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. Together with her team she has built one of the strongest international communities in the online marketing industry. Olga has expanded SEMrush brand visibility worldwide entering the markets of over 50 countries. Olga is also a Judge of content and social media awards in USA, UK and Europe. In 2018 Olga was mentioned among the 25 most influential women in digital marketing by TopRank. She speaks at major marketing conferences and her quotes on user behavior appear in media such as Business Insider and Washington Post.
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