As we witness a global pandemic unfold before us, we have been placed on a global lockdown in the hope of containing the virus. One thing that has come out of this pandemic is that it has given people time to discover new hobbies and interests.
From becoming the next ‘Master Chef’ to making the gram-worthy Dalgonas to developing an unhealthy obsession for TikTok — a lot of us have found new interests to kill time while in isolation.
As Singaporeans stay home during the ongoing circuit breaker period, we are all spending a lot of time online. To understand how priorities changed for Singapore users over the past months, Yahoo recently released the ‘Search in the Circuit Breaker’ report, which chronicles what’s been the most important for online users in Singapore as they react to the COVID-19 pandemic. These trends are based on user search trends in Singapore from February to April 2020.
Goes without saying that COVID-19 is at the top of our minds!
Where crime and tragedy riveted the nation in 2019’s Yahoo Year in Review, attention in 2020 has been on the novel coronavirus and health-related issues, with Coronavirus/COVID-19 related searches rising by close to 130% during the circuit breaker period. People also looked at health-related issues more on Yahoo platforms, with views for articles on diseases and medical conditions rising by a staggering 5000%. Stories relating to addiction and substance abuse were also among the most read, with views up by close to 650%. Views on nutrition-related stories rose by over 750%.
As the COVID-19 public health crisis panned out worldwide, Singapore users were early to catch on as they sought general information and statistics about the virus and its impact.
Four of the top 5 keyword searches on COVID-19 were for updates and statistics, such as ‘death toll’, while ‘symptoms of coronavirus’ was also in the top 5 keyword searches.
Singapore users sought to stay updated about economic concerns through the crisis. Top searches related to the coronavirus and lockdown centred around the latest news and statistics, both local and global. In particular, the Temporary Relief Fund from the Singapore Resilience Budget, and the Singapore Solidarity Budget were part of the Top searches related to coronavirus and lockdown.
Evolving concerns reflected in online searches during Circuit Breaker
As the situation in the country intensified and circuit breaker measures were introduced, Singapore users sought to find more specific details related to the virus. Users became concerned about their personal health and welfare, with people looking for ‘How to wear a surgical mask’ and ‘What is normal body temperature’.
Practical and economic concerns also rose as the virus’ impact escalated, and businesses were affected. Searches on how to apply for the Temporary Relief Fund and the Self-employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) became top concerns for Singapore users. Additionally, browsing of budget, tax, and economy content rose by 274% across Yahoo platforms.
Singapore users also sought clarity on COVID-19 related measures such as essential services, the stay home notice, and what DORSCON red means.
Passing time during the circuit breaker was also important for Singapore users as they searched for ‘What to watch on Netflix’ and ‘What to do during (the) lockdown’.
Top entertainment searches: K-wave is going strong in Singapore
Asian movies and series were the top entertainment searches during this period, with South Korean shows/movies ‘Crash Landing on You’, ‘Parasite’ and ‘Kingdom’ topping users’ entertainment searches. Crash Landing on You stars Hyun Bin and Son Ye-Jin also made the list of top 5 most searched male and female celebrities respectively.
Singapore users also looked for more information on Kobe Bryant, Serena Liu, Go Soo-Jung, and Ashraf Sinclair, celebrities who passed away recently. The drama and gossip of the United Kingdom’s royal family kept users fascinated while at home, with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Kate Middleton also making it to the list.
Top recipe searches: Dalgona coffee craze hits Singapore
With no eating-out allowed and people told not to travel out of their neighbourhoods, users in Singapore searched online for ways to make their meals more interesting. ‘Dalgona coffee’ was trending across the world after going viral on social media, and Singapore was no exception. The recipe for this frothy caffeine cup rose to No. 1 on the list of Top Recipe Searches during the lockdown.
Singapore users also embraced comfort carbs, with top searches for recipes including pancakes, banana cake, muah chee and aglio e olio.
A growing legion of home-cooks propel ‘How to make’ searches up by 64%
In food-crazy Singapore, ‘How to make’ searches increased by a whopping 64% during the circuit breaker — a silver-lining to the situation as Singaporeans seem on track to become the next home-cook master chefs, whipping up their favourite dishes at home.
As the rush for bubble tea after the announcement for stricter measures has shown, Singaporeans are devoted to their bubble teas. ‘How to make bubble tea’ came out tops on food/drink searches in Singapore as our beloved bubble tea shops ceased operations. More than just the tea itself, Singapore users also searched on ‘How to make tapioca pearls’, an important component for bubble teas.
While trendy food items and western dishes claimed the top spots in food/drink searches, Singapore’s national dish and traditional food items were mainstays as Singapore users searched how to cook chicken rice, muah chee, cheng teng, and mee hoon kueh.
What are you searching for right now?