Google Trends: Which Streaming Service Dominated, Unemployment Spikes in Interest in the midst of Coronavirus Pandemic

Jordyn Hester
3 min readMar 3, 2021

Streaming: Is Netflix Still at the Top?

When it comes to streaming, Netflix has been at the forefront for many years. Created in 1997 by Reed Hastings, Netflix started out as a shipping service where subscribers would get DVDs shipped to their homes according to CNBC. Over the internet content was eventually introduced, solidifying the company’s spot as an industry heavyweight and one of the only mainstream streaming services. However, with more and more of these services becoming available, is Netflix’s reign letting up?

From March 2020 to March 2021, Netflix has remained the most searched streaming platform in the United States in comparison to HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

According to Google Trends in the past 12 months, it hasn’t. Between March 2020 and March 2021, Netflix has remained the most searched streaming service up against HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Netflix search numbers peaked the week of March 22, which is around the time Netflix released Tiger King, a docuseries about an Oklahoma zoo owner.

Hulu maintained second place status for the majority of the past year, although it was out-searched on two occasions. Toward the end of June and beginning of July Disney+ received more searches than Hulu. HBO Max also out-searched Hulu during the week of December 20, 2020.

Netflix is the most searched streaming platform in each state. New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all round out the top five for most Netflix searches.

Netflix is also the most searched streaming platform in every state, with the highest percentage of searches coming from New Jersey. Despite competition, it seems that Netflix is still the preferred streaming platform in the United States.

COVID-19 and Unemployment

The impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on employment for American citizens is no secret. After states began to enact restrictions in late March, millions of Americans lost their jobs. This resulted in a huge spike in interest for ‘Unemployment’ according to Google Trends.

There was a huge spike in searches of ‘unemployment’ during late March and early April.

The week of March 29, 2020, ‘unemployment’ reached peak popularity. The term popularity has fluctuated with increases and decreases of searches, however there was a general trend of decreasing popularity until mid December of 2020. Between December 13 and January 2, the term began to increase in popularity again in the midst of unemployment benefits expiring for millions of Americans. According to The Century Foundation, federal funding for certain benefits was set to expire December 26, 2020, potentially affecting 12 million people.

‘Unemployment’ was searched the most in Nevada with Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Ohio rounding out the top five.

According to Google Trends, the term ‘unemployment’ was searched the most in Nevada. The state had the highest unemployment rates in the country, with the percentage reaching 28.2% in April 2020 according to Fox News. Nevada was hit hard after the coronavirus pandemic forced the closures of casinos and hotels, putting thousands of people out of work. Next is Michigan, where the unemployment rates averaged 9.7% according to the state’s website. This is slightly below the national average, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 10.2% in 2020. Following Michigan is Kentucky, New Jersey, and Ohio rounding out the top five in ‘unemployment’ searches.