The year 2020 has been the most significant one to bring changes worldwide. Amid threats of Covid-19 and lockdowns, change in internet viewership is also new as searches like sadqa, pet, cooking, mental health, gender equality, kids’ home activities, etc, at Google had been among the top trends in Pakistan.
The report, titled, “What is Pakistan Searching for?” reveals the collective trending searches and sheds light on what captured curiosity of people for online users across the country. While talking regarding the online launch of the report, Faraz Azhar, industry head for South Asia at Google Asia Pacific, said Covid-19 had affected people in notable ways and changed how “we live our lives significantly”.
“It also created the desire for us to connect to our wider community and give back — as witnessed by 41 percent increase in searches for sadqa,” he added.
There has been observed significant growth of over 250 percent in searches for “kids home activities”. As all educational institutions had been teaching online and specifically kids were taught at home by mothers and teachers. Whereas, while 71 percent increase was observed in searches for “how to be productive”. Almost whole country was quarantine and so people tried to find some activities for their mental health. Mental health was another major most searched keyword.
Also, while in quarantine, people wanted to have some activity at home, and so there was a 140 percent growth in recipe searches for “easy dessert”.
Aamir Altaf, country head of Google Customer Solutions Sales, South Asia, said the year 2020 had witnessed historic challenges. “Consumers are embracing the brands that spark joy and create a safe space for them to take a break,” he said, giving the example of online gaming that saw an increase of 35 percent in searches, compared to a decline of 15 percent in 2019.
He added that in 2020, there was observed a 328 percent increase in searches for “dubbed in Urdu” in Pakistan. It is the indication that brands were increasingly expected to keep into consideration their specific preferences of the costumers.
The report mentioned 5 key trends, points out the search behavior of Pakistanis, that includes, “individual matters”, “higher purpose”, “whole selves,” “sweet relief” and “future proofing”.
“Individual matters” indicates “Black lives matter”. There had been a 40 percent increase in searches for “gender equality” in Pakistan. Similarly, searches for “mental health support” saw an increase of 100 percent with 109 percent growth in searches for “disease prevention” in 2020 following the rise of so many deaths due to pandemic.
Moreover, Pakistanis, under stress and lockdowns, also searched for comfort and ways to get relaxation more than the previous years 2019, as there was a 90 percent increase in searches for “gaming chair”. Likewise, to get rid of social distancing, 700 percent surge in searches for “adopt a pet” was observed.
Apart from all searches, there was a 223 percent growth in searches for “stock investing” as Pakistanis focused to strengthen their economic prospects by boosting their financial knowledge and skills.