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[STUDY] What hobbies are Americans doing during quarantine?

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Learning how to bake banana bread and cut your own hair may not have been included in your 2020 resolutions, but this year has brought unexpected changes to our daily lives. 

By March, most Americans were sheltering in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. While rules varied state-by-state, many of us found ourselves spending more time at home than ever.

So what have we spent our time Googling and doing? Among the news and health search queries, such as coronavirus symptoms, other trends also emerged during this time safe at home. We looked into the hobbies and pastimes of Americans from March 1 through August 1 using Google Search trends to find where and when certain terms dominated. 

Here’s what we found: 

  • Adopt a pet was the most popular, with Animal Crossing and Yoga with Adrienne the second and third hobby searches from March-August, respectively
  • Streaming and online games dominated state search trends 
  • The Northeast took advantage of  virtual field trips, while the South and Midwest streamed Tiger King
  • The West was most likely to search for TikTok dances

How are Americans spending their extra time at home?

Raised garden beds, Jackbox Games and tie-dye are just a few of the trends that spiked during the first six months of shelter in place. 

We looked at Google Search trends from March 1-August 1 and included data on monthly search trends, peak surges and top states below.  

Here’s what Americans have been up to: 

  1. Adopted furry companions: Or at least, they thought about it (and we encouraged it). Queries around adopting pets surged during Americans' time at home as many shelters and breeders across the U.S. reported record demand
  2. Played Animal Crossing: Gaming became even more popular during Americans’ time at home. At one point the WHO even encouraged it as a great social distancing activity, but no other game trended upward on Google Search quite like Animal Crossing did. 
  3. Practiced Yoga with Adriene: While Yoga with Adriene was already a household name for many, searches for her workout videos surged during March as Americans adapted to life without in-person fitness studios. 

Check out this list of top google search trends and the states where they were searched most:

  • Rhode Island: “Adopt a pet”, “TikTok dance” and “Virtual field trips” 
  • Hawaii: “Animal Crossing”, “DIY face mask” and “TikTok dance” 
  • Vermont: “Yoga with Adriene”, “How to cut your own hair” and “Raised garden beds”
  • DC and Maryland: "Books to read" and “Jackbox games”
  • Utah: “Jackbox games” 
  • Nevada: “How to bake banana bread” 
  • New Hampshire: “How to build a deck”
  • West Virginia: “How to build a deck”
  • Alaska: “How to buy stock” 
  • Kansas: “How to date online” 
  • Minnesota: “How to make whipped coffee”   
  • West Virginia: “Tie dye” 
  • Oklahoma: “Tiger King” 
  • Texas: “TikTok dance”

Streaming and online games help pass the time

When we broke data down by state, we found that many leaned into their electronic devices to get through this time at home. Of the 50 U.S. states, 17 googled Tiger King more than any other. Next up was TikTok, which surged in 11 states under the games and online category. 

These were the home hobbies each state searched most:

Here’s how regions in the U.S. entertained themselves from March–August

Wondering what your region was up to during the first six months of shelter in place? When it comes to Google search queries, Tiger King dominated the Midwest and Southern states’ searches. 

The Northeast was the most likely to take advantage of the free virtual tours offered by museums and cultural institutions across the country. Notable organizations such as the Smithsonian and the U.S. National Park Service offered free tours; these searches surged on March 17, just as spring break vacations were canceled across the U.S.  

The West saw its share of TikTok dance searches — such as Savage and Blinding Lights tutorials, along with TikTok’s first ever collaborative hype house in the U.S. 

Technology helped those lucky to quarantine at home safely make the most of their time from March–August. Despite social distancing, search brought us together. Whether whipping coffee or making friends on Animal Crossing, Americans have discovered pleasant ways to pass the extra time at home

Methodology

To gather this data, we looked at Google Trends from March 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020 to see what Americans were searching during the first six months of the pandemic. From there, we looked at state data to see where terms were searched the most and what date the searches surged. We pulled Ahrefs data of these queries to find the average number searches per month.

Sources: 

Google Search Trends 

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