In the same way that Beyonce flung out her fifth album unexpectedly last week, Google UK has just fired its 2013 zeitgeist list into my inbox without so much as a word of warning.

Although it has almost no impact or relevance for ecommerce and digital marketing it still gives a fascinating look into what have been the most popular topics of the past 12 months, and as such I have no qualms about publishing it here on the Econsultancy blog.

Last year it turned out that people in the UK couldn’t get enough of Gangnam Style, Gary Barlow and Kate Middleton, but nobody cares about those guys anymore. 

So what have proven to be the most searched terms in 2013? Here’s a run down of the most popular queries, as well as those that shone brightly for a short period of time and therefore make it onto Google's 'trending' lists...

Top trending general searches

The 'top trending' categories refer to queries with the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2013 as compared to 2012.

  1. Paul Walker
  2. iPhone 5S
  3. Royal baby
  4. Cory Monteith
  5. Oscar Pistorius
  6. Nelson Mandela
  7. Grand National
  8. Universal Jobmatch
  9. Margaret Thatcher
  10. Xbox One

Top trending 'What is?'

  1. What is twerking
  2. What is my IP
  3. What is YOLO
  4. What is a prime number
  5. What is illuminati
  6. What is my car worth
  7. What is spooning
  8. What is global warming
  9. What is zumba
  10. What is the meaning of life

Top trending politicians

  1. Boris Johnson
  2. Nick Clegg
  3. David Cameron
  4. Maria Miller
  5. Theresa May
  6. Harriet Harman
  7. George Osborne
  8. Stella Creasy
  9. William Hague
  10. Ed Balls

Most searched celebrities

The 'most searched' categories include queries with the largest volume of traffic over the year.

  1. Kim Kardashian
  2. One Direction
  3. Miley Cyrus
  4. Justin Bieber
  5. Kate Middleton
  6. Taylor Swift
  7. Martin Lewis
  8. Beyoncé
  9. Andy Murray
  10. Harry Styles

Most searched tech gadgets

  1. iPhone 5s
  2. PS4
  3. Xbox One
  4. Samsung Galaxy S4
  5. Nexus 5
  6. iPad Mini
  7. Blackberry 10
  8. Nexus 4
  9. HTC one
  10. Nexus 7

Most searched TV shows

  1. EastEnders
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Coronation Street
  4. Big Brother 2013
  5. Strictly Come Dancing
  6. Emmerdale
  7. Hollyoaks
  8. Daybreak
  9. Top Gear
  10. The Voice
David Moth

Published 17 December, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (5)



Surely Xbox one should be higher than PS4 in top tech gadgets if it appeared as number ten in general terms?

over 4 years ago



Awesome info. thanks so much for sharing!

over 4 years ago


Ian Crawford

That was my first thought as well, Kate. How can Xbox One be below PS4 if it's in the top 10 general search terms.

I also love the fact that people are still asking Google for the meaning of life. If you have to type it into a search engine then you're doing it wrong!

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

@Kate @Ian - Google charts the top trending general searches by increase in search volume since 2012, while the tech gadgets are measured by total search volume in 2013.

So, PS4 is the most popular search for 2013 but Xbox One has experienced a greater increase.

over 4 years ago


Sarah Louise Dean, Head of Social Media at Dynamis

I am intrigued by the demographics of the searchers.

Who doesn't know what a prime number is?! If it's kids studying maths - fine, or did it relate to a TV show or something in the media?

At least that can be answered more easily than number 10 on the 'What is?' list!

Nice stats, thanks.

over 4 years ago

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