Research purpose: To identify what the United Kingdom Googled in the UK in 2015 for each letter of the alphabet.
Method: The results were obtained via google.co.uk and its autocomplete function. To prevent any bias coming from the search history or researcher’s digital footprint, the research was performed in incognito browsing mode in Google Chrome. To avoid bias coming from the search spikes, the research was conducted in multiple iterations throughout 2015.
Findings: Online shopping/retailing was a dominant search theme in the UK in 2015 and we believe this trend will become more prominent in the future. Roughly 1 in 4 alphabet letters in Google search led to a shopping/retailing website. This could potentially point to Britons being fans of online shopping or diligent when it comes to comparing prices, finding the best online buy or a potential cash-back (Quidco). Fun and entertainment were equally dominant in searches. Social media (Facebook and YouTube), sports (BBC and SKY) and searches for celebrities such as Nicki Minaj and Kendall Jenner were very popular. A range of websites led to the essential tools such as e-mail hosts, maps and typically British – the weather forecast. Property websites (Zoopla and RightMove) topped the list for their corresponding initials probably thanks to the searches of the “rent generation” and new home buyers. The Ucas website was popular among high-school graduates for enrollment to colleges and universities while those who believed in good luck tried their chance with the National Lottery.
Limitations: Google autocomplete function was designed to provide up to date, general and personally relevant search suggestions. This function, with a letter given, will list the most searched themes/topics and sort them according to the popularity. Google autocomplete will not display any adult or offensive content. The results obtained in this way, do not necessarily have to match the most popular websites that can be accessed in numerous ways other than Google search. Given that Google promotes search freshness, any topic/theme that has a short-term search spike at the moment of search will be listed above other historically more popular themes. In this particular study, all measures were implemented to mitigate or minimise potential sources of bias.