It’s been a while that we have been stuck at home amid a nation-wide lockdown. The end of this self-imposed isolation is nowhere in sight, yet. As we stay at home to flatten the curve and save lives, how are Indians dealing with it all? Are they anxious? Are they worried? What are the things that they are looking for on Google?
A look at the data from Google Trends gives us an idea about what’s on people’s minds right now. Let’s take a look:
Stress and therapy
Google Trends data suggests that stress levels in the country are skyrocketing over the lockdown. In fact, search levels for stress in India exceeds that of several other countries that have also been under lockdown for the past few weeks. And going hand-in-hand with stress, searches for therapy have also spiked.
Data from other sources also suggest that there has been a rise in anxiety and mental health issues over the lockdown. A survey by the Indian Psychiatric Society showed a 20% rise in mental illness cases because of uncertainties at work, relationships, health issues and financial concerns.
People have been searching for therapy on Google with relatively high searches coming in from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Mizoram and Puducherry, according to Google Trends data. Searches for therapy have been relatively low in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Luckily, searches for suicides have been low. There was spike on March 29 when German finance minister Thomas Scharfer committed suicide, but that was a one-time phenomenon.
Searches for jobs have been relatively high in the country as compared to other countries. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed a sharp spike in joblessness just after the lockdown was announced.
Urban unemployment rate went up sharply over this period and remains elevated and many people who lost jobs or are not sure of keeping one as the lockdown continues, have been intensely searching jobs online over the past few weeks.
The right tools
For those who are still employed and are reporting to work virtually, finding the right tools for the purpose has been the key thing. There was a rise in search for applications like Zoom that allowed people to connect with their teams virtually just after the lockdown was announced.
Searches for Zoom, however, have been higher in countries like Italy and Germany as compared to developing nations like Indonesia, India and South Africa
Cooking it off
The lockdown has given almost everybody more time at home and most Indians have turned to cooking and trying out new recipes. The search for recipes in India is rising faster than it is in many other countries.
Searches for recipes also beat the search for workouts and online classes in India with the highest interest coming in from Goa, Daman & Diu and Karnataka.
Searches for YouTube videos has also spiked significantly in India as compared to other countries. Also, the search for Netflix, Amazon Prime were relatively muted.
Overall, a search for ‘Internet shutdown’ started rising when the lockdown was announced, but as the panic subsided, people turned their focus towards food, working out, keeping in touch and yes, jobs and therapy.