Haircuts, Penneys and recession - what we’re searching for on Google during the lockdown

Information regularly sought about furlough schemes, Covid-19 free areas and golf courses

Google searches for tips on how to cut hair at home have spiked during the coronavirus lockdown and there is also an eagerness to find out when golf courses and retailer Penneys might open again. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

People in Ireland appear to be growing increasingly concerned about their appearance after weeks in lockdown with questions about the reopening of hairdressers amongst the most searched for things on Google this month.

Searches for tips on how to cut hair in the absence of professionals have also spiked and there is also an eagerness to find out when fashion retailer Penneys might open its doors to shoppers again.

Google has released lists of the things Irish people have been searching for online in recent days and, unsurprisingly, questions about coronavirus dominate.

At number one in the top 10 of Covid-19 related questions was “How many cases of coronavirus are there in Ireland?” followed by “How many people have died from coronavirus?”

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The question in third position is one that everyone in the State must have asked themselves, others or Google more than once in recent weeks - “When will coronavirus end?”

Google users have also asked how long coronavirus can live for on surfaces and if there is a country or countries that has not been hit by Covid-19.

The search engine also looked at questions that had the words “when”, “will” and “open” in them.

Top of that list was “When will hairdressers open in Ireland?” followed by “When will pubs open in Ireland?”

Driving tests

The numbers asking about golf courses edged those curious about Penneys opening out of third place and queries about when driving test centres might open again came in fifth place.

Google also looked at lockdown specific questions and found that the thing people in Ireland asked most was not when might the restrictions might end here, but whether or not France was still in lockdown. The question of when it might end in Ireland barely made it in to the top 10.

The second most popular lockdown question was about the five phases announced by the Government last week while in third spot was: "How many days have Ireland been in lockdown?". These were followed by the questions "Is Germany in lockdown?" and "Is Canada in lockdown?"

Also featuring in the top 10 was a query about how to lose weight in lockdown.

A barber cuts the hair of a client at a hairdressing salon in Bratislava, Slovakia on Tuesday. Irish people have been eager to learn when they might be able to go for a trim, according to Google search data. Photograph: Vladimir Simicek/AFP via Getty Images.

Furloughs

With many in the State temporarily out of work, there has been plenty of questions about the term furlough including “What does furlough mean?” and “how to pronounce furloughed in English?”

Google said that in recent weeks searches for the word “recession” reached levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008 while searches for “Great Depression” have also soared to new highs. There was also a high volume of questions about the wage subsidy scheme introduced by the Government, how it works and how much it provides.

Google also looked at “When can…?” types questions and found that “When can we travel again?” was in first position followed by another question about hairdressers and one asking “When can we fly again?” After that there were questions as to when dentists and hotels might reopen.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor