As the COVID-19 pandemic prevails, technology has become an essential part of life for health-conscious Hong Kongers, whose digital consumption behavior has seen a drastic change whether in searching for pandemic-prevention supplies, daily essentials or online learning tools. Large populations working from home also resulted in immense demand for streaming services and entertainment, opening up commercial opportunities for businesses big or small. Verizon Media has always prioritized COVID-19 prevention by offering a plethora of trusted online content for everyone to enjoy at home. As a media and search company that amplifies what matters to users most with trust and empathy, Verizon Media’s subsidiary brand Yahoo Hong Kong (www.yahoo.com.hk) has partnered with top-notch service providers to serve Hong Kongers’ needs. Yahoo Hong Kong has charted the list of top pandemic-related keyword searches to review the topics and entertainment that Hong Kongers are most concerned about.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top-10 anti-pandemic supplies
1. Surgical masks
3. toilet paper
5. hand sanitizer
6. two boxes, thanks
9. hand sanitizer formula
10. sanitizing cottons
Masks in short supply; overnight queues a common sight
COVID-19 strikes panic in all of us. Hong Kongers who had experienced the painful lessons of SARS in 2003 were aware of the importance of wearing masks for health protection. Yet their single-use means consumption and demand are massive, urging citizens to spare no effort to queue overnight just to get a box of masks. Businesses are also sourcing masks from around the world and selling them on social media. As such the comment of “two boxes of masks, thanks” messages flooded the online world, crowning it second place in the list of popular pandemic-prevention supplies.
Toilet paper panic-buy due to rumours of depletion
At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, a rumour spread online about toilet paper manufacturers switching to producing masks, igniting a wave of panic-buys in the town. Toilet rolls, boxed tissues, kitchen paper, and even sanitary pads were wiped out. Subsequently, the supermarkets clarified that their supply is sufficient and limited purchases to stop panic buys. As such, “snapping up toilet paper” also became one of the top-10 pandemic-prevention search words.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top 10 products and people for mental and physical well being
2. Hiking trails
3. Elva Ni
4. Hiking shoes
5. Nintendo Switch Ring Fit
6. Fitness bike
7. Fitness equipment
8. Country Parks
9. Fitness Centres
10. Hiking Gear
Home exercises and yoga gain popularity
Self-protection is important, but so is boosting our immune systems against the virus, thus giving birth to the trend of home exercises. Yoga can regulate the entire body, improve blood circulation, promote endocrine balance and release stress. It is easy to get started and can be easily practiced at home, making it the first choice of workout for Hong Kongers! Viewers can also live-stream a yoga or fitness session with KOLs to achieve results while saving big bucks. Yoga KOLs like Elva Ni, as such, have gained popularity.
Suns out and masks off: country parks and hiking trails become new stomping grounds
The city is packed with people and has poor air circulation, making nature the next best thing for Hong Kongers to, literally, get a breather sans mask. Therefore, search words like “hiking trails”, “country parks”, “outlying islands” and “hiking gear” gained much traction. Taking to nature is, of course, a healthy option, but please keep the mask on if the trails are crowded.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top 10 home appliances
1. Air Fryer
2. Air Purifier
3. Air Cleaner
5. 5G Mobile Phones
6. Washing Machine
7. PlayStation 5
8. Combination Ovens
9. Bread Maker
Home-cooked meals go up, as does creativity in the kitchen
Eating out is risky so Hong Kongers are inclined to stay home for meals, thus boosting the search for kitchen appliances and tools. Topping the list is the air fryer, which can achieve the same crispy results but with less oil – surely a treat for everyone in the family. Ovens and halogen ovens share the spotlight among couples who’re into making candle-lit dinners or parents wishing to surprise their kids with homemade cakes. After the pandemic, everyone’s cooking skills will definitely improve a lot!
Home Appliances go head-to-head with one another & air purifiers claim top 3
Spring humidity is upon us, and dehumidifiers have long been the top-three in years prior; but due to COVID-19, air purifiers became the new winner. Aside from air purifiers for the home, wearable air purifiers are equally popular: this thumb-size device is easy to carry and blocks pollen and PM2.5 pollutants by generation ions. Yet the virus is ubiquitous: aside from air purifiers, we must still beware of personal hygiene, keep our hands clean and wear masks.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top 10 shopping platforms
HKTVMALL gains brownie points for investing 200k to make masks
In the beginning of month, HKTVMALL announced the establishment of its mask factory and expects to start selling month-end. Its company’s value climbed to 4.6 billion. Prior to the pandemic, HKTVMALL dispatched two teams to source masks around the world and materials for masks production around Southeast Asia. Its USD 200k investment to build a mask factory has sparked heated discussions online. As the leading online retailer, HKTVMALL has been the go-to for searching daily staples, bleach, rice, toilet paper; it even hired more delivery people when orders started piling up. There is no doubt that HKTVMALL is at first place in the most-searched online shopping platform.
Watsons sells masks online; mascot “WatsBag” rises to fame
When Watsons sold masks at its brick and mortar shops, queues piled up at the door. Yet, high demand means lining up overnight may not always be met with success. Some citizens even started arguments with Watsons staff and fellow mask-seekers. As such, the pharmacy moved the reservation process online: at its peak, the system saw 1.49 million people queuing up. During the wait, mascot WatsBag (a green shopping bag) entertains those in the queue with comical expressions and dialogue that soon became inspiration to derivative work and Whatsapp stickers designed by creative netizens. Soon after, Watsons released WatsBag’s life story and other family members in a series of peripheral products for sale. Some WatsBag’s nicknames have also made it to Yahoo’s top-three searches.
ParknShop shines during Home Quarantine
As the plague of COVID-19 drags on, the majority of the public remains indoors, but daily staples and foods still need to be replenished. And for that, Hong Kongers prefer heading to CK Hutchison Holdings’ ParknShop headed by tycoon Li Ka-shing. Many supermarkets’ online platforms are, too, grasping onto this business opportunity as they see overwhelming orders. While we enjoy the convenience of deliveries, we should also be thankful for the people who are braving the pandemic to bring these goods to our doorsteps.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top 10 learning-at-home tools
10. Lego Steam
Learning Online is Packed with Fun
Though schools are under suspension, learning never stops but has instead shifted to online education. Online conference platforms feature screen-sharing functions so lecturers can share learning materials while teaching, offering a much more engaging experience than rote learning. Conferences are two-ways, and incidents of students accidently leaving on the microphone have caused a raucous. Zoom – a platform more common among students – topped the list of 10 most popular searches in the “learning at home” category.
Learn at home with the help of Technology
For parents, school suspensions and executing classes at home are big headaches. Fortunately, a number of schools are using the eClass learning platform to share electronic learning materials. Students need only log into the eClass system to access their assignments so as to learn at their own pace and time at home even under class-suspension. As such, PaGamO, Happy PAMA and other target-oriented, online self-learning platforms stand out from the crowd and made it to the Top 10 most popular searches in the “learning at home” category.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top 10 home entertainments
1. Crash Landing on You
2. Joy of Life
3. Forensic Heroes IV
4. Three Lives, Three Worlds, The Pillow Book
5. Itaewon Class
6. The Dripping Sauce
8. Someday Or One Day
10. Running Man
When it comes to binge-watching at home, Korean dramas are the go-to
Until a cure is available for COVID-19, medical staff highly recommend the public to stay home, and the best way to kill time? Binge-watching shows. “Crash Landing on You” by Netflix tells of a girl from an upper-class family and her adventures in North Korea after she accidentally paraglided into the country. During her stay, she falls in love with the captain of the North Korean Special Forces in a romantic tale that has mesmerized the young generation, making it the most-searched show. Second and third places are TVB’s primetime shows, “Joy of Life” and “Forensic Heroes IV”. The binge-worthy “Joy of Life”, produced in Mainland China, illustrates a mysterious, good-looking man who makes a legend out of himself. “Forensic Heroes IV”, on the other hand, is the brainchild of esteemed producer Mui Siu-Ching and has reached new heights in viewership of 40-plus points.
Yahoo’s keyword search during COVID-19: Top 10 finance-related keywords
1. Dow Jones Industrial Average
2. Financial Secretary Budget
3. 10k cash handout
4. RMB exchange rate
5. Yen to HKD
6. Anti-epidemic Fund
7. Australian Dollar
8. Hong Kong Dollar Fixed Deposit
9. Community Care Fund
10. Pounds to HKD
US Stock market plummets, worst performance in 30 years
No country is free from the wrath of COVID-19. As situations worsen in the United States, businesses and corporations have been forced to come to a halt. Three major stock indexes plummeted, of which the Dow recorded the largest quarterly decline since 1987, hovering at 15293 points, making this the headline search item.
Financial Secretary’s 10K cash handout encourage spending
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-Po announced in February the 2020-21 Budget composed of a number of bailout features, of which the 10k cash handout to all Hong Kong permanent citizens aged 18 or above has received the most attention. This scheme is believed to benefit more than 7 million Hong Kongers both living in the city and overseas. In such economic turmoil, the cash handout will surely lessen citizens’ financial pressure and encourage spending. Hong Kongers can apply for the 10K cash hand out scheme in July via online and paper forms and receive the money as early as August.
Co-head of APAC, Verizon Media Mr. Rico Chan says, “As a trusted media partner of Hong Kongers, Yahoo has been walking alongside people of this city for the past 20 years. Under the plague of COVID-19 and daily surges of news and updates on the pandemic, we are on an information overload. Yahoo Hong Kong continues to stand with Hong Kong with a Combating COVID-19 live log and website featuring unbiased, accurate and real-time information. Aside from trusted sources of information, Yahoo Hong Kong also lends a helping hand during these challenging times to source masks and sanitizing supplies from around the world and making them available to our members via the Yahoo App. In lieu of school closure, we also launch an all-new online learning hub (Yahoo Kids Up) that amalgamates reputable self-learning channels to offer students at home premium content and support within the confines of their homes. With faith, Yahoo will stand strong with Hong Kongers to overcome this pandemic.”