The most popular activities in lockdown

Published: 22/02/2021

On March 23rd 2020 Boris Johnson announced the first national lockdown in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost one year on, takepayments look back at the activities and hobbies that with the nation has taken up to keep themselves busy during the lockdowns.

*SEMRush UK average monthly search volume March 2020 - February 2021

As zoom calls replaced catching up with friends in the pub and people looked for ways to keep themselves entertained, searches for quizzes and Lego have dominated the lockdowns with an average of 450,000 searches per week since the beginning of the pandemic.

People also used the lockdowns as an opportunity to improve their skills. The language app Duolingo was the fourth most popular activity of all lockdowns, with an average of 301,000 searches per week since the start of the pandemic. 

While people were spending more time in their homes, there was no way to escape the list of DIY jobs that needed doing, as a result, DIY has seen an average of 246,000 searches per week across the year.

Cycling also saw an increase in interest during the pandemic, but mountain biking proved popular as searches averaged at 201,000 per week as people were looking for ways to make the most of their time outdoors.

This was also reflected on Instagram, as mountain biker Matt Jones has seen his following increase by a whopping 66% since the beginning of the pandemic.

Walks were also a popular activity, with searches for ‘walks near me’ averaging at 135,000 per week, whilst Netflix kept us entertained indoors with searches for ‘best films to watch on Netflix’ averaging at 110,000 per week.

But how did our choice of things to do change throughout each of the three lockdowns?

The most popular activities during lockdown 1

*SEMRush data 23rd March 2020 - 14th June 2020

 

Quizzes were the most popular activity of lockdown 1 which saw a huge 2.4 million searches, as weekends out and about were replaced with zoom.

Animal Crossing was the second most popular activity, with searches reaching 1.2 million as players sought to find a form of escapism from the pandemic.

Many of us found more time to try new recipes and baking, so much so that searches for sourdough starters increased by a staggering 2358%, and banana bread also saw a surge of 1960%.

Baking influencer Jane’s Patisserie saw her following skyrocket during the first lockdown as she shared mouth-watering photos of her latest lockdown bakes. Jane’s account grew by an estimated 87% during the first lockdown as well as growing by a staggering 283% since the beginning of the pandemic.   

With nowhere to go, many households took the time complete DIY jobs and gardening, which both saw a peak in searches during the first lockdown. 

Rock painting was also a popular activity for families during lockdown 1 which saw a huge increase of 740% as families looked for ways to keep children entertained on their walks. 

The most popular activities during lockdown 2

*SEMRush data 5th November 2020 - 2nd December 2020

 

The November lockdown saw Christmas come early as many households resorted to putting up the Christmas decorations to keep their spirits high.

Festive traditions such as gingerbread houses saw a whopping 2.3 million searches throughout the November lockdown, and activities shifted towards arts and crafts such as candle making, embroidery and knitting, indicating that people may have started getting crafty with Christmas presents due to extra spare time.

With the cold and dark weather in lockdown 3 keeping us more indoors, it’s not surprising the most popular activity during this lockdown was Lego. It saw an increase of 52% since the beginning of lockdown 1 with a peak of 233,700 searches in one week during this lockdown.

TV shows have been a source of escapism for many during lockdowns, and when Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit dropped during the second lockdown, thousands took an interest in playing chess, and searches for chess boards increased by 98%.

Chess influencers have also seen the ‘Queens Gambit’ affect, as thousands of fans of the show took to Instagram to find the real deal Elizabeth Harmon. In fact, former Olympian and chess influencer Anna Rudolf has seen her following grow by 78% since The Queen’s Gambit dropped on Netflix.

The most popular activities during lockdown 3

*SEMRush data 4th January 2021 - 6th February 2021

During the third and what we hope is the final lockdown, Duolingo has taken the top spot with 291,400 searches so far, followed by Peleton and crosswords.  

As the lockdown came during the beginning of a new year, it's not surprising to see interest in wellbeing and fitness activities increase.

Peleton has seen a huge uplift in searches this lockdown, an increase of 104% compared to Lockdown 1 and searches for ‘couch to 5k’ have increased as gyms and leisure centres remain closed.

Dog training has also seen a rise of 147% compared to lockdown 1, which relates to the increase of new dog owners across the past year looking to teach their pups new tricks.

UK-based dog trainer Jimmy Allen who shares tips and advice on his Instagram account has seen his followers increase by almost one third (32%) since the beginning of this lockdown.

 

*Influencer data collected by InfluData and correct as of 18th Feb 2021

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