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Semrush World Data Trends: 2020 Year in Review

Semrush World Data Trends: 2020 Year in Review

This post is in English
Fernando Angulo
This post is in English
Semrush World Data Trends: 2020 Year in Review

On January 1, the world ushered in the start of a new decade, with great expectations for the year ahead. While 2020 has proven to be significantly more challenging than expected, people around the globe have turned to their favorite place — the internet — to find answers, solace and guidance for what happens next.

Though the coronavirus has been on everyone’s mind (and understandably in their search history), this year has also seen communities rally together for social equality, the overcoming of several natural disasters and of course the debut of major pop-culture milestones, proving that not one, but many, topics gripped the world this past year. 

Top lists: world data trends by Semrush, 2020 year in review

Download infographic

The most curious findings: 

  • 20% of 2020 trending keyword searches are related to Black Lives Matter

  • Kamala Harris used to be almost two times more popular than Joe Biden until the month of elections

  • 25% of the top trending celebrities this year were TikTok stars: Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio and Charlie D’Amelio hold the top three fastest-trending spots

  • European football outranked the popularity of its American cousin, with 127% more searches for “Champions League” than “Super Bowl” at their peaks

  • Netflix outshines other streaming services with 671% higher average monthly searches

  • Netflix also dominated the trending series list with Netflix Originals making up 73% of the top shows' list. 

  • The Queen’s Gambit took the top spot for highest trending TV series, with a 58% higher surge in average monthly searches than the second-trendiest series, Indian Matchmaking

  • Spotify tops the charts as the global leader for music streaming, leading the charge with 91% more average monthly searches than the next leading platform, Soundcloud

  • K-pop BTS and Blackpink’s music albums made it to the top 10 list of the most popular music albums in 2020 according to Google searches globally

  • Among Us is 2020’s most popular video game, with 68M monthly searches, and is followed by famous Valorant and Genshin Impact games.

  • Comfort and casual wear make up 85% of the most sought-after fashion items list in 2020

  • Amazon.com is the most visited e-commerce site with an increase of 24% in website traffic YoY

  • Nike.com is the most visited fashion website with an increase of 30% in website traffic YoY

  • All top 3 commercials of 2020 were released during the Super Bowl: Rocket Mortgage with Jason Momoa, Doritos commercial and Google “Loretta” commercial.

  • Stocks, Real Estate and Mutual Funds are the top 3 directions for investments in 2020

  • When it comes to investing in stocks, 3 most sought-after companies are Tesla, Apple and Amazon

  • People are curious about “What will happen in 2021?” – over 18,000 average monthly searches this year

Notes:

Abbreviation “SV” is used for the Search Volume term

Search volume – is the average number of times a specific search query is entered on a search engine per month

Avg. (average) monthly SV in 2020 – all monthly Google search volumes divided by the number of months analyzed

Max SV in 2020 – the highest value of monthly search volume throughout the 2020 year

Biggest spike in SV in 2020 – the highest % increase in monthly searches 

YoY (year over year) growth – 2020/2019 growth in the number of online searches or website’s visits

Average monthly traffic – average number of monthly visits to a website

GENERAL NEWS

Most trending Google searches in 2020

Given the global impact of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that “COVID-19” surpassed all other keyword searches this year by a landslide, with almost 60 million average monthly searches since January 2020 and a peak high of 101 million searches in March. 

20% of the most trending searches were related to the Black Lives Matters movement. The highest-trending keyword search in 2020 was for “George Floyd,” with inquiries skyrocketing by over 41.3 million % in May 2020.

Google Doodles contributed to over 25% of the top trending keyword list, with searches spiking significantly for illustrator Sir John Tenniel, Turkish astrophysicist Dilhan Eryurt, Olympic athlete Vicki Draves and civil rights activist Felicitaz Mendez after their respective Doodles were released in February, July, August and September.

Most trending Google searches in 2020 globally Most trending Google searches in 2020 globally

The top list is sorted out by the growth rate of the monthly search volume: the highest search volume of the keyword in the 2020 year divided by the lowest search volume the keyword had in the 2020 year. To compile this top list we paid attention to the keywords with higher search volumes to show a more realistic picture when it comes to trending keywords.

Trending News Topics of 2020

Analyzing all articles of 2020 from BBC and CNN news sites, Semrush found several topics that gained major media traction. Unsurprisingly, coronavirus was a top news story this year, outpacing the second-most covered topic — the U.S. election — with 66% more average keyword mentions. 

Major political events and elections constitute 40% of trending news topics, with another 30% focusing on tragedies that earned global attention. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon launch made the list as a positive news story, trending as the world looks beyond itself and towards a new era of space travel.

Most trending news topics of 2020 Most trending news topics of 2020

PEOPLE

Most searched politicians in 2020

With so many elections taking place in 2020 and citizens looking to world leaders for their response to the coronavirus, searches for individual politicians grew twice in comparison with 2019 year. Searches for “Kim Jong Un” peaked at over 83 million monthly searches in April, growing 1,049% compared to 2019, likely due to the rumor of his death following a surgery. 

U.S. political figures made up 50% of the most-searched-for list. Searches for U.S. President Donald Trump grew by 60% while searches for the new President-elect, Joe Biden, skyrocketed by 9,545% this year, with a max monthly search volume of just over 35.5 million. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris followed close behind, reaching a high of 30.4 million monthly searches in August 2020—a 1,561% increase from searches in July, after Biden announced her as his choice for running-mate—tying with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who received the same in April 2020. 

Ranking

Keyword

Max SV in 2020

YoY growth

1

Donald Trump

90,220,000

92%

2

Kim Jong Un

83,100,000

1,049%

3

Joe Biden

35,520,000

9,545%

4

Kamala Harris

30,400,000

244%

5

Boris Johnson

30,400,000

135%

6

Kellyanne Conway

4,090,000

210%

7

Hillary Clinton

3,350,000

80%

8

Justin Trudeau

3,350,000

16%

9

Vladimir Putin

2,740,000

89%

10

Angela Merkel

2,740,000

29%

Most trending celebrities in 2020

As the world turned digital in 2020 with pandemic restrictions in place, it makes sense that 25% of the top trending celebrities this year were TikTok stars: Addison Rae, Dixie D’Amelio and Charlie D’Amelio hold the top three fastest-trending spots. 

Searches for “Grimes'' peaked at 13.6 million monthly searches in May with the announcement of her and Elon Musk’s first child, X Æ A-XII, seeing a 583% growth in overall popularity compared to 2019. 

Actor Tom Hanks also trended this year with a 287% increase in searches year over year (YoY) as he was one of the first celebrities to share he had contracted COVID-19 in March, along with his wife.

Most popular / trending celebrities in 2020 Most popular / trending celebrities in 2020

SPORTS

Top sports events of 2020 and their top athletes

Although both kinds of football topped the charts of 2020’s most-searched-for sporting events, European football far outranked the popularity of its American cousin, with 127% more searches for “Champions League” than “Super Bowl” at their peaks. 

While the Champions League topped the list for the highest max search volume in 2020, tennis made itself clearly known as the world’s favorite sport to watch this year, with major tournaments making up 60% of the top five list. Results may have been impacted by the fact that major basketball, baseball and hockey leagues postponed their seasons to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Semrush has also uncovered the most popular athletes from the top five sporting events of the year: Neymar, Sofia Kenin, Patrick Mahomes, Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal were each clear favorites during their tournaments.

Top sports events and top athletes in 2020 Top sports events and top athletes in 2020

FASHION

Most trending fashion items in 2020

Fashion trends changed drastically in 2020 as people had fewer reasons to leave the comfort of their homes, as evident in comfort or casual wear making up 85% of the most sought-after fashion items. 

The trendiest items by far were “gloves”, seeing a 129% increase in average searches YoY, and “sweatpants”, seeing 119% growth. While searches for gloves may be directly linked with attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the rise in searches for sweatpants indicates the world embraced a more casual work-from-home lifestyle — after all, virtual business meetings only require your visible top half to look professional, meaning your hidden bottom half is free to stay comfy. 

Trending fashion items in 2020 Trending fashion items in 2020

Top fashion eCommerce websites of 2020

With the majority of brick-and-mortar retail spaces shutting their doors this year, eCommerce capabilities became more important than ever. This was especially true in the fashion industry, where pivoting to provide consumers with the products they wanted — and quickly — was key. Nike was a brand champion in 2020 as the most visited website with just under 147 million average monthly website visits. 

Despite the world slowing down, fast fashion websites made up 70% of the top trending fashion eCommerce sites this year. 

Ranking

Website

Average monthly traffic

YoY growth

1

Nike.com

146,894,309

30%

2

Trendyol.com

117,040,908

39%

3

HM.com

112,061,055

11%

4

Macys.com

97,192,485

-1%

5

Zara.com

85,129,790

28%

6

Asos.com

81,937,790

30%

7

Shein.com

59,494,876

53%

8

Uniqlo.com

57,884,665

30%

9

Gap.com

55,646,327 8%

10

Jcpenney.com

52,165,810 -8%

ENTERTAINMENT

Most popular streaming services (VIDEO) in 2020

Netflix continues to be the peoples’ choice as the most popular streaming service this year—and by a landslide. Average monthly search volumes for “Netflix” were 671% higher than for Amazon Prime Video, the next highest streaming service with just under 18 million average monthly searches. 

With the world enforcing social distancing, it’s no wonder that all streaming services saw a 72% increase in average search volume between February and March 2020. Disney+ saw the greatest amount of growth this year, spiking by 233% between February and March – this increase is likely the result of the platform’s launch in India with Disney+ Hotstar.

Top video streaming services in 2020 Top video streaming services in 2020

Most trending TV series in 2020

It’s also no surprise that more people are turning to their screens for entertainment while in isolation, but what are people watching? Measuring the greatest spike in the search volume, The Queen’s Gambit took the top spot for the highest trending TV series, with a 58% higher surge in average monthly searches than the second-trendiest series, Indian Matchmaking. 

Solidifying its reign as the top streaming service, Netflix also dominated the trending series list with Netflix Originals making up 73% of the top shows' list. 

Ranking

TV series

Biggest spike in SV in 2020

Max SV in 2020

1

The Queen’s Gambit

742,005%

14,100,000

2

Indian Matchmaking

468,650%

1,500,000

3

Julie and the Phantoms

465,178%

3,350,000

4

P Valley

182,900%

1,830,000

5

Teenage Bounty Hunters

149,900%

1,500,000

6

Emily in Paris

137,274%

13,600,000

7

Tiger King

137,090%

16,600,000

8

Too Hot to Handle

113,511%

4,090,000

9

Ratched

112,740%

9,140,000

10

Ted Lasso

93,746%

1,220,000

11

I Am Not Okay With This

77,141%

2,240,000

12

The Midnight Gospel

64,111%

1,220,000

13

The Last Dance

50,405%

5,000,000

14

The Haunting of Bly Manor

41,226%

7,480,000

Most popular streaming services (MUSIC) in 2020

Spotify tops the charts as the global leader for music streaming, leading the charge with 91% more average monthly searches than the next leading platform, Soundcloud

Echoing the rise in searches for video streaming services, music platforms also saw growth in popularity between February and March 2020, with a 16% increase in average searches. Of the top 10, however, Soundcloud and Apple Music saw no growth at all between February and March, maintaining 13.6 million and 1.2 million average monthly searches, respectively. 

Ranking

Music streaming service

Avg. monthly SV

1

Spotify

26,000,000

2

Soundcloud

13,600,000

3

YouTube Music

10,708,000

4

Deezer

2,651,000

5

Amazon Music

2,249,000

6

Gaana

1,388,000

7

IHeartRadio

1,248,000

8

Apple Music

1,210,00

9

Tidal

986,600

10

Google Play Music

931,900

Top music albums of 2020

Proving that a pandemic can’t stop the music, 50% of the top trending albums of the year were released after the world went into lockdown mid-March. J Balvin released Colores just two days prior to Colombia announcing new restrictions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, giving his fans a new hit album to dance to at home that topped the search charts with a peak high of 1.5 million monthly searches in March. 

Taylor Swift’s surprise album Folklore tied for second-highest monthly search volume with Selena Gomez’s Rare, reaching 1.2 million after its release in July. The Weeknd’s release, After Hours, was the third most searched album according to max monthly search volume in 2020.

Though their max search volume peaked at just over half a million, K-pop sensation BTS’s Map of the Soul 7 saw the biggest average monthly search volume in 2020 that was almost 20% higher than the average monthly SV of the next leading release in the top list. This interest likely follows the group becoming the first K-pop artists to make the US Billboard Top 100 charts with the song “Dynamite” and receiving a Grammy nomination (the first-ever nomination for a K-pop group!).

Ariana Grande’s latest album Positions, is also set to see the major growth into the new year, seeing 550,000 monthly searches after its launch in October. BLACKPINK’s much-anticipated [THE ALBUM] has seen a steady growth alongside Positions with the maximum of 550,000 monthly searches.

Top music albums of 2020 Top music albums of 2020

Most trending video games in 2020

With outdoor adventures off the table due to pandemic precautions, the world also turned to video games to virtually escape their isolation. Among Us was the most popular game of the year by far, with a 173% higher max monthly search volume compared to the next leading game, Valorant, which was the second-highest trending game despite seeing an incredible 6,653% spike in searches between February and March 2020. Genshin Impact also tied for second alongside Valorant with a peak monthly search volume of 24.9 million.

All games except one were released in 2020 – Among Us was originally launched in 2018 but saw a major increase in popularity as a great social team game. 90% of all top trending games included (or plan to have, once released) online multiplayer gameplay, making them a perfect fit for those looking to stay connected while social distancing. Ghost of Tsushima went so far as adding a multiplayer expansion in October to connect players after its original release in July. 

Ranking

Video game

Max SV in 2020

1

Among Us

68,000,000

2

Valorant

24,900,000

3

Genshin Impact

24,900,000

4

The Last of Us 2

16,600,000

5

Call of Duty Warzone

11,100,000

6

Ghost of Tsushima

11,100,000

7

FIFA 21

11,100,000

8

Animal Crossing New Horizons

9,140,000

9

Cyberpunk 2077

7,480,000

10

Minecraft Dungeons

5,000,000

BUSINESS AND FINANCE

Top commercials in 2020

With more people turning to streaming services to binge-watch entertainment, commercials have become cleverer than ever to capture consumer attention. Unsurprisingly, 60% of the world’s favorite commercials this year were broadcast on February 2, 2020, during Super Bowl LIV — the ultimate stadium for both football and marketing efforts. 

Rocket Mortgage’s Super Bowl commercial featuring actor Jason Momoa was the most-searched-for ad of the year with the maximum value of 609,500 monthly searches —203% higher than any other commercial—proving that shock value can definitely help sell. 

One notable top commercial was originally released in 2019 but gathered international attention at the start of the year. “Peloton commercial” made the top searched-for list in 2020 given the controversy it caused after its release, even going so far as to inspire a response ad from actor Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin brand. 

Ranking

Commercial

Max SV in 2020

1

Rocket Mortgage commercial (with Jason Momoa)

609,500

2

Doritos Super Bowl commercial

201,000

3

Google Super Bowl commercial

135,000

4

Smart Park commercial

90,500

5

Tom Brady commercial (Hulu)

90,500

6

Bill Murray commercial (Jeep’s Groundhog Day)

90,500

7

Samsung Galaxy Z flip phones commercial

90,500

8

Budweiser commercial 2020

60,500

9

Peloton commercial

49,500

10

Mr. Peanut commercial

49,500

Top eCommerce websites of 2020

2020 was the year eCommerce popularity skyrocketed, with searches for “buy online” almost doubling in March 2020. As most consumers turned to digital shopping carts, some started shopping smarter with the help of technology, leveraging cyber-deals by timing appropriately with major discount days like Black Friday, or by using coupon or cash-back retailers like Rakuten, which saw a 19% increase in YoY monthly traffic. 

Despite protests against the global retail website mammoth, online shoppers this year still value convenience, value and immediate delivery above all else — Amazon.com excelled as 2020’s top eCommerce website, with over 3.6 billion average monthly website’s visits (263% higher than eBay.com, the next leading site), and seeing a 24% increase in traffic compared to 2019. 

Ranking

Website

Average monthly traffic

YoY growth

1

Amazon.com

3,676,579,118

24%

2

eBay.com

1,012,849,029

8%

3

Rakuten.co.jp

799,447,173

19%

4

Apple.com

529,459,973

17%

5

Samsung.com

603,051,836

-4%

6

AliExpress.com

596,062,590

-9%

7

Walmart.com

492,855,746

4%

8

Etsy.com

289,332,627

27%

9

Ikea.com

232,701,929

36%

10

HomeDepot.com

229,638,473

22%

Top directions for investing money in 2020

The coronavirus’s global impact affected much more than the health of its citizens—economic transformations continue to be significant as countries work to respond, rebuild and recover. Investments will help determine which markets will be stable enough to sustain the pressures of COVID-19, and which ones won’t make the cut. 

Stocks continue to be the number-one most sought-after investment option, with a 335% higher average monthly search volume than searches to “invest in real estate”. Currency remains a popular item of interest, making up 20% of the top 10 investments list, with 43,978 and 30,990 average monthly searches for investments in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, respectively. 

Top directions for investments in 2020 according to Google searches Top directions for investments in 2020 according to Google searches

Top stocks to invest in in 2020

As financial services continue to change alongside the global economy, the post-pandemic ‘new consumer’ will define new market realities. Whether searches this year were made by investors interested in buying or selling—especially given the major barriers travel companies like Boeing and American Airlines have faced during the pandemic—recognizing which stocks people are searching for will be a key to understanding what shifts might be on the horizon.

Given the digital transformation of 2020, tech stocks continue to be a favored investment this year, with 70% of the most-searched-for stocks related to tech products, services and platforms. Tesla takes the top spot with 90% higher average monthly search volumes than Apple stock, the next-leading search. Searches for “Moderna” stock squeezed onto the list just shy of the top 10, with just over 2.2 million average monthly searches, indicating investors are keen to dip into the market demand for COVID-19 vaccines. 

Savvy investors were also quick to try and take advantage of the pandemic’s drastic economic impact, with searches for “what stocks to buy when market crashes?” increasing by 74,000% in March 2020. 

Ranking

Company Stock

Avg. monthly SV

1

Tesla stock

15,584,600

2

Apple stock

8,203,600

3

Amazon stock

6,546,300

4

Boeing stock

4,319,600

5

Microsoft stock

3,486,500

6

NIO stock

2,936,900

7

Disney stock

2,539,400

8

Facebook stock

2,451,900

9

AMD stock

2,419,000

10

Spy stock

2,236,300

11

Moderna stock

2,231,450

12

Zoom stock

1,998,710

13

American Airlines stock

1,832,610

What’s next?

When all else fails, ask Google. The uncertainty of 2020 has left the global population exhausted and eager for the end of pandemic restrictions, economic insecurity and social isolation. Monthly searches for “how long until 2020 ends?” went from zero to 201,000 in April 2020, possibly indicating that people were tired of the pandemic as soon as it began. 

Some people even started a countdown, with monthly searches for “how many weeks left in 2020?” increasing from zero to 40,500 in April, steadily increasing to a peak of 74,000 in August— which is 83% higher compared YoY to “how many weeks left in 2019?”.

"How long until 2020 ends?" and "What will happen in 2021?" Google search trends "How long until 2020 ends?" and "What will happen in 2021?" Google search trends

However, looking towards a clear future, global searches for “what will happen in 2021?” saw an average of 18,100 monthly searches this year. We hope for the best and will keep you posted about the latest data trends showing the most precise picture, because we all know – people are honest when they search.

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Fernando Angulo
SEMrush

SEMrush employee.

Fernando Angulo is Head of Communications at SEMrush. He has been with SEMrush since the beginning of company’s marketing efforts and has built its all-star marketing team. Being one of the most recognised faces of the brand, Fernando is speaking at 50+ top conferences worldwide each year. Fernando specializes in B2B search marketing, e-commerce, influence marketing and trained marketing teams of companies such as Expedia, T-mobile, Prestashop and Bing.
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