Life Tech Toilet paper, coronavirus and sourdough: Australia’s top Google searches for 2020

Toilet paper, coronavirus and sourdough: Australia’s top Google searches for 2020

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From the black summer of bushfires to toilet paper panic-buying and the coronavirus pandemic, this year has been a wild ride.

The ups and downs are reflected in Australia’s internet search trends, with the top-10 search terms across key categories revealed by Google on Wednesday.

When it comes to people, Murri boy Quaden Bayles was the most searched kid of the year, coming in at No.5 on Google’s ‘Australian public figures’ list.

Bayles, then nine, made global headlines in February when his mother posted a video of him crying after being bullied at school.

News Corp columnist Miranda Devine was forced to apologise for defamatory comments about bullying victim Quaden Bayles and his family.

The video went viral and prompted an outpouring of support, from NRL stars to comedians.

One notable exception was News Corp columnist Miranda Devine, who in September settled a $200,000 defamation suit with Bayles’ family after posting what she later admitted to be “hurtful” and “untrue” claims about the boy on Twitter.

Comedian Celeste Barber was the second-most searched for Australian of the year.

Barber raised a whopping $51 million for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in response to the summer’s devastating bushfires.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian came in at No.3.

Secret recordings exposed controversial conversations between Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire.

Ms Berejiklian’s squeaky-clean image has been tarnished in 2020, with  her secret relationship with disgraced former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire made public during a NSW corruption commission investigation, revelations of pork barrelling, and an admission that she failed to self-isolate after a COVID test.

Australian public figures:

  1. Dani Laidley
  2. Celeste Barber
  3. Gladys Berejiklian
  4. George Pell
  5. Quaden Bayles
  6. Pete Evans
  7. Nicola Gobbo
  8. Peter Dutton
  9. Richard Pusey
  10. Ben Cousins.

United States president-elect Joe Biden topped the list of most-searched global public figures followed by North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Always a controversial figure, Mr Kim made headlines in August when rumours of his death swirled.

In August, media reports swirled that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was in a coma and his sister, Kim Yo-jong, was in control of the reclusive communist nation. Photo: Getty

The rumours were later debunked.

Netflix’s Tiger King also had a powerful impact on Australians, the search results revealed.

The star of the bizarre documentary series Joe Exotic came in at No.7, behind Kanye West, Tom Hanks and Kamala Harris.

Exotic’s arch nemesis Carole Baskin came in at No.10.

Tiger King‘s Joe Exotic and his mortal enemy Carole Baskin. Photo: Netflix

Global public figures

  1. Joe Biden
  2. Kim Jong-un
  3. Boris Johnson
  4. Kamala Harris
  5. Tom Hanks
  6. Kanye West
  7. Joe Exotic
  8. Donald Trump
  9. Prince Harry
  10. Carole Baskin.

The contest between Donald Trump’s Republicans and Joe Biden’s Democrats captured Australia’s interest like nothing else.

Joe Biden was Australia’s top most-Googled global public figure, while Donald Trump came in a distant eighth.

The US election beat out even the coronavirus to take top spot for 2020 in the overall searches category.

The NBA took third spot followed by video chat platform Zoom at four and coronavirus symptoms at five.

Overall searches: 

  1. US election
  2. Coronavirus
  3. NBA
  4. Zoom
  5. Coronavirus symptoms
  6. Kobe Bryant
  7. Weather tomorrow
  8. Fires near me
  9. Coronavirus Victoria
  10. Trump v Biden.

Toilet paper queries also made an appearance on a number of top-10 lists thanks to this year’s panic-buying madness.

‘Toilet paper’ came in at No.5 on Australia’s most searched ‘news topics’ while ‘Where can I buy toilet paper’ was the most searched ‘Can I …’ question.

Two women were filmed fighting over toilet paper in a Sydney supermarket in March. Photo: Twitter

Toilet paper also came in at No.2 on the ‘goods and giving’ top 10, behind ‘Where to buy face masks’ at No.1, and ‘buy from the bush’ at No.3.

News topics

  1. US election
  2. Coronavirus
  3. Fires near me
  4. Coronavirus Victoria
  5. Toilet paper
  6. NSW fires
  7. Qantas share price
  8. Air quality Melbourne
  9. Beirut explosion
  10. NSW coronavirus.
Toilet paper shelves were stripped bare in the early days of the pandemic. Photo: AAP

‘Can I ….?’

  1. Where can I buy toilet paper?
  2. Where can I buy hand sanitiser?
  3. Where can I get tested for coronavirus?
  4. Can I access my super?
  5. How many people can I have in my house?
  6. When can I access my super?
  7. Can I go fishing in NSW?
  8. How much can I borrow home loan?
  9. How far can I travel in Qld?
  10. Can I leave Australia?

Goods and giving

  1. Where to buy face masks
  2. Buy toilet paper online
  3. Buy from the bush
  4. Buy PS5
  5. Buy Aussie now
  6. Where to buy hand sanitiser
  7. Buy isopropyl alcohol
  8. Buy a bale
  9. Buy Xbox Series X
  10. Buy dumbbells.

Australians famously love the Do-It-Yourself ethos, and the pandemic resulted in a flood of searches for recipes, DIY tips and tricks, and home improvements.

Hand sanitiser topped the list in three search categories: Recipes, ‘How to …?’ and ‘DIY’.

Sourdough bread took the No.2 spot in recipes, with the viral Dalgona coffee recipe coming in at No.10.


  1. Hand sanitiser
  2. Sourdough bread
  3. Beef stroganoff
  4. Spaghetti bolognese
  5. Doughnut
  6. Crumpet
  7. Macaron
  8. Anzac cookie
  9. Banana bread
  10.  Dalgona coffee.

How to ….?  

  1. How to make hand sanitiser
  2. How to make a face mask
  3. How to use Zoom
  4. How to get tested for coronavirus
  5. How to make bread
  6. How to make self-raising flour
  7. How to apply for Centrelink
  8. How to buy shares
  9. How to apply for JobKeeper
  10. How to make whipped coffee.


  1. DIY hand sanitiser
  2. DIY face mask pattern
  3. DIY neck hammock
  4. DIY ventilator
  5. DIY foot scrub
  6. DIY fire pit area
  7. DIY toilet paper
  8. DIY pottery kit
  9. DIY antibacterial wipes
  10. DIY scrunchie holder.

Unsurprisingly, COVID topped the list of most-searched ‘definitions’ followed by ‘pandemic’ and ‘branch stacking‘.

‘Karen’ also made the list at No.10, following a number of high-profile coronavirus lockdown controversies.

These included the so-called ‘Bunnings Karen’ incident and ‘Karen from Brighton’.


  1. COVID
  2. Pandemic
  3. Branch stacking
  4. Stimulus package
  5. Stand down
  6. Portmanteau
  7. BIPOC
  8. Barre
  9. Lockdown
  10. Karen.

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