How cricket, porn and gambling lost out to COVID-19

Indiginus post

An analysis of Google search trends shows that Coronavirus-related search terms have catapulted to the 4th most searched term in India last week, at the cost of recreation and sins – cricket*, matka gambling and porn*-related searches.

In a ‘normal’ week, Indians use Google to search for films, downloads, makta gambling, porn and price comparisons.  Seasonal terms that are festival-related (eg. Holi), and anything in the headlines creeps up to the top of the rankings for a week or two at most. The Indian cricket team* is a regular in the top 20 every time there is a match and often lingers on the leaderboard even when there isn’t one. However, since the rise of corona*, cricket, porn and gambling are no longer in the top 10. In fact, cricket has plummeted off the top 25 list altogether!

Let’s take a look at what other search terms have been dethroned over the last five weeks because of the coronavirus:

    • Week of February 25th: No sign of Coronavirus in the top 25

COVID-19 and related search terms did not even break the top 25 in February. Google search volumes reveal that aside from the usual top terms, cricket and gold as an investment were top of mind.

corona impact blog

 
    • Week of March 2nd: Corona makes an entry

The top 25 is quite predictable, except for one new entrant: Coronavirus. Related terms like masks, and symptoms also garner some attention. However, International Women’s Day, Yes Bank, IPO and a slew of cricket terms indicate that aside from a few early birds, the masses were still occupied with their daily lives.

    • Week of March 9th: The stock market saw it coming, but not early enough

Coronavirus is the 13th most searched term in India. The stock-market indices are often an indicator of the doom and gloom ahead. Stock-market related terms all earned significant volumes this week: Dow Jones, BSE, Gasoline and NIFTY 500. You know something major is about to happen when all of these are breakout search terms.

    • Week of March 16th: Amid a Corona outbreak, porn and matka gambling suffer.

As cases were confirmed all over the country, a slew of Corona-related terms and stories dominated the search volumes: Ignaz Semmelweis, Kanika Kapoor Curfew, Quarantine, Italy, China, Death, Hand sanitizer On a sombre note, the country did stop to take in the hanging of the 4 convicts in the 2012 gang rape: another highly searched term that week.

  • Week of March 22nd: The Corona domination continues to reach the 4th most searched term in India. Interestingly, Netflix, Zoom and Skype all see peaks on some days during the week, indicative of how people are spending their time working from home. Porn and matka gambling rankings nose dive into the teens!

Tired of hearing about the virus? When will the news cycle evolve?

Search is a digital channel indicative of real-time trends. Past search behaviour suggests that as long as the lockdown continues and daily lives are disrupted, Indians are likely to search for related terms. Doctors, WHO and government representatives suggest this won’t blow over anytime soon. Logic would suggest this will continue for a while.

On the other hand, despite the complete domination of search volume right now, I sense that people are getting used to the ‘new normal’ and getting tired of hearing about the virus. I get the impression that people are ready to move on and want to hear about other things. We will keep an eye on Google Trends and let you know when Indian search habits evolve. Watch this space for updates!

*and the family of related-terms

—————

We are actively working on projects with clients who are preparing for a different future than they envisioned just a couple of months ago. Join the change! Contact us to begin the journey, or simply reply to this email.