KARACHI: Everyone's lives have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic over the course of past year and the effect carried over onto what Pakistani people searched on Google in 2020.
As coronavirus infections in Pakistan grow past half a million, Google has released its 'Year in Search' report for 2020, indicating what the most popular topics and queries from citizens were.
According to Google, some of the topics that saw the most traction on the Alphabet Inc-owned search giant included "kids' home activities," TV shows "dubbed in Urdu", how to "adopt a pet", and resources for "mental health support".
In addition, people were curious about how to ramp up "charity work" and how they could introduce more "reusable" products in their lives — the latter a likely impact of a global conversation surrounding the climate emergency.
Not only that, Pakistanis were surprisingly also interested in "gender equality" as well.
The "deep-dive" report shows the collective trending online searches, shedding light on what captured the Pakistani people’s curiosity as well as opportunities for brands.
In this regard, Google's industry head for the South Asia and Asia Pacific regions, Faraz Azhar, noted that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's lives "in fundamental 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 the 41% increase in searches for ‘sadaqah’," Azhar added.
According to the report, there was a 109% growth in the searches for "disease prevention".
Moreover, searches for "gender equality" saw a 40% increase, while those for "mental health support", "reusable", and "charity work" shot up 100%, 128%, and 122%, respectively.
It looks like with more time at home and the consequent boredom, people wished to do more work, as is evident by a 71% increase in "how to be productive". Others were more interested in playing online games but that comes with body aches, so searches for "gaming chair" grew 90%.
Furthermore, some considered getting a furry partner for themselves to pass the time and invest more energy into a living being, leading to a whopping 700% rise in searches for how to "adopt a pet". Others, on the other hand, wondered if they could maybe earn some more money, causing a 223% growth in searches for "stock investing".
Similarly, parents had children-related worries as classes shifted online and adults were working from home. This translated into a 250% increase in searches for "kids home activities", 328% surge in those for "dubbed in urdu", and a 140% growth for "easy dessert".
Google's country head for Customer Solutions Sales in South Asia, Aamir Altaf, said that "in a year of historic challenges, happiness and joy have been very welcome".
"Consumers are embracing the brands that spark joy and create a safe space for them to take a break," Altaf said.
"Take gaming for example. We saw an increase of 35% searches for 'online games' vs. 15% decline during the same period last year.”
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