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VR travel search volume up more than 300% during COVID-19


Google search interest in ‘virtual travel’ recorded volumes up to four times higher than the previous year in countries such as the United States. Steady increases in search volume occurred between 2019 and 2020 across the world, including India, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

As travel restrictions continue around the world, it’s no wonder that so many people are turning to screens to satiate their desire for travel, tourism and globe-trotting.

In fact, new research from Compare The Market shows that ‘virtual travel’ had more than triple the search volume in April this year1 compared to the same month in 2019.

The significant leap in search volume coincided with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic in March this year. In the same month, global search interest for ‘virtual travel’ more than doubled from 8,981 searches per month (SPM) in February to 21,298 in March before peaking at more than 25,000 the following month, which was the highest recorded SPM volume for the entire period.

The graph below represents the search interest data for ‘virtual tourism’ in the first 6 months of 2019 and 2020 across countries such as the US, UK and India.

As a natural accompaniment to this data, search interest for ‘VR headset’ has also steadily increased since February 2020, peaking at just over 580,000 average monthly searches in May 2020. It’s a considerable improvement from 2019’s peak, which reached just over 353,000 SPM in June.

1. World Health Organisation: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 51 - https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200311-sitrep-51-covid-19.pdf.

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