Changes in the number of users searching for “Corona (COVID-19)”
In the past two years, not a day has gone by when the word “Corona (COVID-19 is mainly called Corona in Japan)” has not been heard. First, let us look at the changes in the number of search users for the word “Corona (COVID-19)” over the last three years.
COVID-19 case was first identified in Japan in January 2020. Although it is difficult to see in the graph, the number of search users in that month was more than three times that of the previous month, suggesting that sensitive users were quick to search and collect information on “COVID-19”. The number of search users increased markedly in February 2020, 12 times that of the previous month, due in part to the increase in the number of new cases of infection in the following month and beyond. Furthermore, since this was the first time in Japan that a state of emergency was declared due to COVID-19, the number of search users peaked in April 2020, with more than 20 million users searching for “COVID-19”.
As the number of newly infected cases increased, the number of search users also increased, and there appeared to be a positive correlation between the number of newly infected cases and the number of search users. However, the number of users searching for “COVID-19” did not increase that much after the summer of 2021, even when the number of the newly infected was at its highest (August 2021), it seems that the users had gradually become accustomed to the COVID-19 condition.
※Number of COVID-19 cases are from NHK special website.
Number of users searching for “Corona (COVID-19)” & COVID-19 cases trends
Search terms change before and after COVID-19
Next, let's look at the top search terms for “Corona (COVID-19)” searches.
*We defined 2019 as “before COVID-19”, 2020 as “first year of COVID-19”, and 2021 as “second year of COVID-19”.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the top searches about “Corona” were a general home equipment manufacturer that handles oil fan heaters, oil stoves, and water heaters. In the first year of COVID-19, the number of single word searches for “Corona (COVID-19)” increased dramatically to more than 7 million. At that time, there was still little information on the COVID-19 virus, and since it was an unknown virus, there were interests in the early signs, the symptoms, and the number of people infected. Also, many users were curious about the status of infection in each area, so many of the searches of “COVID-19 + area” were ranked. The trend for the second year of COVID-19 was similar to that of the first year of COVID-19, but the vaccine rose to the top of the search results due to the start of vaccinations. It can be read from the search terms that the way users deal with Corona (COVID-19) was changing.
“Corona (COVID-19)” search keywords: yearly change
Words that made an impression in the COVID-19 pandemic
There are numerous memorable words appeared in the COVID-19 pandemic.
These include “3 mitu (the appeal of avoiding closed, crowded, and close-contact places)”, which is one of the measures against this infectious disease, “telework (remote work)”, which is used to propose various ways of working and new work styles, “DX (digital transformation)”, which represents the digitalization of companies, and “stay home” and “stay-at-home consumption” due to voluntary restraint from leaving the home.
We then delved deeper into “telework” and “DX” by the use of keyword analysis, and also took a deeper look at the food delivery market, which has expanded rapidly due to the “stay home” trend to refrain from eating out and the “stay-at-home consumption” trend.
About the search term “telework”
Although not so familiar before COVID-19, it is one of the words that became widespread after, partly because the government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government requested “telework” as part of the measures against COVID-19. In particular, the use of “telework” spread as a result of the voluntary curfew due to the declarations of states of emergency.
■Searches tended to increase when states of emergency were declared
When did the word “telework” become so pervasive? Let's take a look at the number of search users over the last three years.
While the number of search users in January 2020 was still not that high, in February 2020, the number of search users increased to 4.8 times that of the previous month. Moreover, there was a jump with the first emergency declaration, with more than 1.13 million users interested. From there, the number of users decreased, but increased again with the second declaration of a state of emergency.
Since then, the number of users had continued to decrease when the state of emergency was lifted, and then increased when the state of emergency was declared again, making a cycle that continues to this day.
Trend of the number of users searching for “telework”
■User needs change in the second year of COVID-19
Let's look at the top search terms for “telework” searches.
Before COVID-19, the term “telework” was not as widespread as it is now. The number of searches itself was small, and search activities to learn about telework such as trying to know the advantages and disadvantages were noticeable.
However, in the first year of COVID-19, there were searches regarding government assistance such as grants and subsidies, as well as words for preparing for telework such as chair, headset, and tools, as the government encouraged telework due to the spread of the COVID-19 infection.
In the second year of COVID-19, words related to places and spaces for telework, such as hotels and karaoke boxes, were also ranked.
Before COVID-19, people thought of hotels as places to stay overnight and karaoke as places to sing songs, but plans that were previously unthinkable, such as telework plans, became the talk of the town. The needs under the COVID-19 pandemic seem to be transforming even the concepts of each industry.
“telework” search keywords: yearly change
About the search term “DX”
It goes without saying that corporate activities have changed dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, DX initiatives, such as telework and online payments, have rapidly accelerated to improve productivity and operational efficiency.
■ Interest in “DX” remained high in the second year of COVID-19
Unlike the search trend for “telework”, which grew significantly with the first emergency declaration, we found that the number of searches for “DX” gradually increased regardless of the emergency declaration.
Compared to the pre-COVID-19 period, the growth rate was significant in the first year of COVID-19 and maintained at a certain level in the second year.
In the second year of COVID-19, more than twice as many users searched for “DX” as before COVID-19 condition, indicating that the level of user interest remained high.
Number of users searching for “DX”
■From “Deluxe” to “D-X-”
Then, let's look at the top search terms for “DX” search users.
Before COVID-19, although there were some “DX” searches, the number was low and game-related “DX” (for deluxe) such as those for Samurai Worriers, Zelda, and Mario & Luigi dominated the top of the list.
In the first year of COVID-19, the number of searches related to “DX” (for digital transformation), such as “what is DX”, “DX meaning” and “DX stock name” increased, indicating a change in the rank.
In the second year of COVID-19, slightly more in-depth search terms such as “2025 digital cliff (after 2025, Japan may suffer an enormous economic loss due to the failure to achieve DX)” and “METI (Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)” became more prominent.
“DX” search keywords: yearly change
About the category of “Gourmet Delivery”
Due to the declarations of states of emergency, the requests to refrain from going out, and the requests to shorten business hours, the COVID-19 condition had a major impact on the restaurant industry.
What changes have occurred in industries that are less susceptible to infection, such as delivery and takeout? Let's take a look at the category of “Gourmet Delivery” of Values's own definition.
■The declarations of states of emergency further increases the needs
The pre-COVID-19 period shows an increasing trend during months with events such as Golden Week, summer vacation, and new year holidays. The fact that just under 1 million searches per month indicates that the market is in demand regardless of the COVID-19 condition.
And since there was a sharp increase in both the first and second declarations of states of emergency, it appears that the need for the service has further increased due to the growing trend toward voluntary restraint.
However, in the latter half of the second year of COVID-19, perhaps due to self-restraint fatigue, it was apparent that interest in safe and secure delivery and takeout had waned, and the number of searches was not much different from the peak period before COVID-19 condition.
Number of users for “Gourmet Delivery” category
■In the second year of COVID-19, “Demae-can” expanded rapidly
Let's take a look at the changing face of the top industry share of online gourmet delivery.
We found that “d delivery” had a high share of the market before COVID-19 and in the first year of COVID-19, accounting for 1/4 of the total market share. However, with the background that “d delivery” ended its service on June 30, 2021, “Demae-can” and “Uber Eats” seem to be growing rapidly in the second year of COVID-19. The use of food delivery services was more active than before, partly due to the fact that both services were frequently seen in TV commercials during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is said that Japan lags behind other countries in the expansion of the delivery market, but the acceleration of the market following COVID-19 condition is expected to significantly change the delivery industry in the future.
Top industry share in the “Gourmet Delivery” category (website)
Summary｜ How have we faced the COVID-19 pandemic? A look back over the past three years.
We have summarized the results regarding the COVID-19 using keyword analysis and industry analysis.
“Corona (COVID-19)”: The number of searches peaked with the declaration of the first state of emergency. And in the second half of the second year of COVID-19, there seemed to be a trend of waning user interests, but the number of searches had a positive correlation with the number of newly infected cases of COVID-19.
“telework”: The number of teleworkers increased at once with the first emergency declaration, decreased when the emergency declaration was lifted, and increased when the emergency declaration was issued again, making a cycle that has continued to the present.
“DX”: The number of searches increased regardless of the declarations of states of emergency, indicating a high level of interests even in the second year of COVID-19.
The change in search terms before and after COVID-19 indicates that users are not passively seeking information, but rather gather information on their own.
“Gourmet Delivery”: Demand for the service was strong before COVID-19, and was growing further due to the voluntary restraint following the declarations of states of emergency, and with the termination of the “d delivery” service, “Demae-can” and “Uber Eats” started expanding.
The year 2022 will be the third year of COVID-19. How are we going to face COVID-19 in this year?
Given that users' interests have changed before and after COVID-19, we believe that it will be important to provide information that flexibly incorporates the changing needs.
About the "Dockpit"
The data in this investigation is from “Dockpit”, an analysis tool with online behavior log data and user demographic information under the permission of panelists in Japan presented by VALUES, Inc. between November 2018 to December 2021.
※The numbers of users are estimated by the data in the monitor and the internet population in Japan.