The 10 things Brits were most obsessed with in 2020

Ross McGuinness
·6-min read
Top 10 most searched Yahoo 2020
Coronavirus dominated the agenda in a tumultuous year, topping the list of the most searched terms on Yahoo UK (Getty Images)

If there is one thing that has dominated the past year, it’s coronavirus.

So it’s little surprise the global pandemic was top of the 10 most-searched for terms on Yahoo Search UK this year.

Firstly, Britons wanted to know what it was and then how to protect themselves - all the while trying to keep up-to-date with the latest government guidance and laws governing our behaviour in response to it.

There are few surprises in the top 10, with Donald Trump in second place and Harry and Meghan in third.

Just outside the top 10, 13th place was occupied by Captain Tom Moore, whose fundraising during the pandemic united the nation.

Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to Boris Johnson, made the top 20 in 17th place, mainly because he made a 260-mile trip during lockdown and refused to apologise.

Caroline Flack, the former Love Island presenter who took her own life in February, was the 19th most searched term.

Watch: 2020 - the year of the pandemic

Top 10 Yahoo Search terms in 2020

1. Coronavirus

Unable to marshal the right cells and molecules to fight off the invader, the bodies of the infected instead launch an entire arsenal of weapons — a misguided barrage that can wreak havoc on healthy tissues, experts said. (Getty Images)
Coronavirus was the search term at everyone's fingertips in 2020. (Getty Images)

There could only be one topic that was the most searched of the year, and it is, of course, coronavirus.

From the news of an outbreak in Wuhan back in January, to the evacuation of Britons from China in February, through to the introduction of the first national lockdown in England in March and a steady rise in cases, it has remained the top search term.

It continued to dominate the news agenda for the rest of the year, as England went into a second lockdown, a vaccine was made available, and Christmas was cancelled for millions.

2. Donald Trump

President Donald Trump makes remarks about the election after presenting the Medal of Freedom to Lou Holtz, in the Oval Office, Thursday, Dec, 3, 2020. ( Photo by Doug Mills/Pool/Sipa USA)
US president Donald Trump continued to trend highly in online searches. (PA)

The outgoing US president retained his second position in the most searched terms - in 2019 he was beaten by Brexit.

In a US election year, Donald Trump was always going to figure highly, from his impeachment acquittal in February to continuing accusations that he mishandled the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, Trump controversially threatened military force to quell protests over the death of George Floyd. He was also diagnosed with COVID-19 later in the year.

Trump went on to lose the US presidential election to Joe Biden, but not before making false claims of victory and threatening legal action over the result.

3. Harry and Meghan

On March 31, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be quitting as senior royals and along with that, stop using their HRH styles and no longer be able to have Sussex Royal as their brand. Together with their baby son Archie they are partly going to live in either Canada or the United States, where they want to become financially independent. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were the third most searched term. (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex caused a stir at the beginning of the year when they decided to walk away from the monarchy by stepping back from their senior royal roles and moving to first Canada and then California.

The pair remained in the news because of the number of court battles they continued to fight in 2020, a mega deal with Netflix and, of course, the public’s enduring appetite for the high-profile couple.

4. Brexit

File photo dated 17/02/16 of the EU and Union flags. Boris Johnson must show competence and leadership by taking responsibility for the final days of negotiations to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, Labour has demanded.
Brexit has fallen three places in the Yahoo Search data. (PA)

Last year’s most searched term on Yahoo, Brexit has to be content with a lowly fourth place this time round.

At the end of January, it was the biggest item on the news agenda, as the UK formally left the EU, although the ensuing transition period, scheduled to end on 31 December, has so far seen little movement in securing a trade deal.

5. Boris Johnson

Watch: Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds announce birth of baby boy

No one - not even Johnson himself - could have predicted just how tumultuous a year he would have in 2020.

His first year as prime minister began as planned, as he led the UK out of Europe, but within weeks the world had been turned upside down by coronavirus.

Less than two months after Brexit Day, Johnson was trying to lead the country through its worst crisis in a generation. He then contracted COVID-19 and was forced to spend three nights in an intensive care unit in hospital.

A few weeks later, his partner, Carrie Symonds, gave birth to their son, Wilfred.

6. Prince Andrew

June 8th 2020 - The United States Department of Justice demands that Great Britain hand over Prince Andrew to be formally questioned in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. - January 27th 2020 - In a statement today, Geoffrey Berman the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Prince Andrew has provided "zero cooperation" to United States law enforcement agents and investigators who wish to interview him regarding his association with the late millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. - November 21st 2019 - Prince Andrew The Duke of York steps down from all official royal public duties amid the escalation of his associations in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 3/21/19 Prince Andrew The Duke of York visits the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London to open the new Stanmore Building. (London, England, UK)
The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, tried to keep a low profile in 2020. (AP)

The Duke of York spent 2020 dealing with the fallout from his disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight in November 2019.

Prince Andrew has found himself in a war of words with US authorities amid claims he has failed to co-operate with an investigation into sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the Duke who died in jail in August 2019.

In July, Prince Andrew’s website was taken down, eight months after he stepped back from royal duties.

7. Kate Garraway

Host Kate Garraway on stage at the Global Awards 2020 with at London's Eventim Apollo Hammersmith. (Photo by Scott Garfitt/PA Images via Getty Images)
TV presenter Kate Garraway has spent much of 2020 at her husband's hospital bed. (PA via Getty)

It has been a difficult year for TV presenter Kate Garraway, whose husband, Derek Draper, has been in a coma after contracting COVID-19 in March.

Earlier this month, she revealed she has been playing Elton John songs to him in hospital.

She said she felt “physically sick” at the thought of not spending Christmas with her husband.

8. Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan arrives at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
TV presenter Piers Morgan was the eighth most popular term on Yahoo Search this year. (AP)

ITV’s Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan spent much of 2020 on a crusade against the government over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, grilling health secretary Matt Hancock after a 200-day boycott of the show by Downing Street, only to hold his own hands up in December and declare himself a “Covidiot” after being pictured in a taxi without a face mask.

9. Katie Price

Photo by: zz/KGC-305/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 11/6/20 Katie Price and her boyfriend Carl Woods are seen on November 6, 2020 arriving at Heathrow Airport - returning to England from their holiday in The Maldives. They were not in compliance with strict government guidelines mandated during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic as they both were wearing their face masks improperly as both had their noses exposed. (London, England, UK)
Katie Price with her boyfriend, Carl Woods, returning to the UK from the Maldives in November. (AP)

It has been an up-and-down year for media personality Katie Price, who dealt with bankruptcy, broke her feet and ankles after jumping off a wall at a theme park in Turkey, and received police visits over accusations she continued to break coronavirus restrictions.

10. William and Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Cleeve Court Care Home in Twerton, Bath, where they spoke to staff about their experiences of providing care and helping residents to stay connected to their loved ones throughout the pandemic, on the final day of a three-day tour across the country.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made Yahoo Search's top 10. (PA)

While Harry and Meghan were getting royalists in a whirl with their decision to step back from official duties, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge quietly went about their business.

There were claims in August that the two brothers didn’t speak for two months during the fallout from the Sussex’s decision to step back as senior Royal Family members

In December, the couple made a rare family outing as they walked the red carpet with their three children, George, Louis and Charlotte, to see a Christmas pantomime.

The data is comprised of total searches for all Yahoo Search UK users — which includes users not based in the UK but who have chosen to use Yahoo Search UK. Yahoo Search gets billions of searches per year, globally and in the UK we have hundreds of millions of searches and millions of users.

Watch: What's in store for the royals next year?