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The coronavirus outbreak has not just severely impacted the health and well being of people around the world; it has also affected their behavioral patterns and daily routines. It has caused a ripple effect that’s shaken the entire global economy. 

In any major economic disruption, some industries will drop, and others will gain. The coronavirus is no exception. We have analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on online behavior to reveal industries and companies that have been hit the hardest or boosted.

Market Winners By Search Data And Traffic Trends

Remote Working Platforms

During this pandemic and period of self-isolation, an obvious game-changer that is reaping the benefits is remote working tools and platforms. 

Zoom Communications, a space designed for video conferences and webinars, skyrocketed from $108 on March 16 to $162 on March 23. An increase of 50% is staggering in itself and is even more astounding considering stock markets are slumping more than 30% — a true success story amidst a global crisis. Traffic to Zoom’s website has increased by 10 million site visits in the month of February. 

remote working platform zoom

Search volume for Zoom also rose 22% from January to February and is projected to increase by 108% from February to March.

For calling platforms, it appears that only Skype will likely see a greater rise this month. Among messaging platforms, the branded search volume for Slack, an instant messaging forum, is projected to jump 71% from February to March. 

remote working services software impact covid-19

Home Fitness

One-third of the world’s population has come under lockdown and is partially or completely stuck in isolation at their homes. SEMrush market data reveals a rising interest in online searches for home exercise, which has drastically spiked in March.

Home fitness search data coronavirus

In March, the search volumes for jump ropes and dumbbell increased by 70% whilst the online demand for yoga saw a 66% major increase.

Streaming Platforms

SEMrush has found that some of the biggest streaming services gained an unprecedented rise in searches during March by 12.7% on average. Compared to February, searches for Disney+ grew by 43.5% as discussions of rules and restrictions started coming into place. Disney+ was launched last year and has taken an early lead in the battle of second-wave streaming services. 

HBO branded search has gone up by 24%, which may be connected to the company’s several high-profile premieres in March. In comparison, at 18%, Netflix saw a little less increase than its rival. The most surprising boost, which saw branded searches up 42.44%, was shown by Canopy. This meant bad news for Apple TV as the “Apple TV subscription” dropped 14.41% over the past month.

Food Delivery Companies

In most countries where people are on lockdown, restaurants can still send delivery orders through popular mobile applications. 

Food delivery services grow during coronavirus

Searches for food delivery services increase by 80% on average – depending on the restaurant. Amazon Fresh and Instacart showed the biggest increase – jumping up to 200%. 

Market Winners In Other Industries

Many retail consumer products and other companies are also benefiting during the current economic turmoil.

Moderna, a pharmaceutical company that is working on a coronavirus vaccine, saw its stock price jump from $18 on February 21 to a high of $32 on March 18. That of cleaning supply company Clorox rose from $157 on March 12 to a high of $200 on March 17. Food wholesaler Costco increased from $281 on February 28 to $320 on March 4.

Industries Who Have Suffered The Most


As the crisis was beginning to unfold, airline stocks fell an average of 19.1% from February 19 to February 27. United’s stock was at $80 on February 20 before hitting a low of $21 exactly one month later – a decline of nearly 74%.

According to SEMrush data, Google search volumes for the major global airlines also fell. Branded searches within the overall industry average declined 17% from January to February. The worst-hit were Bangkok Airways (-33%), China Eastern (-33%), and China Southern (-45%). However, search volumes are projected to increase by an average of 16.5% in March.

Traffic and search data for airlines do not correlate with financial data because millions of people spent hours on airline websites and hotlines changing their travel plans. 

During February and March, airlines have been active on social media. We conducted a Twitter sentiment analysis to see the public’s wider reaction to each global airline.

Top 10 airlines people tweeted about the most in March:

Tweets at airlines during covid-19

Based on this list and the data – every single airline had more positive than negative tweets except one. Alitalia – the national airline of Italy, a country that is now the global epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic.

Lufthansa had the highest amount of tweets that used a negative tone. Meanwhile, Qatar saw the largest amount of tweets using positive language to describe the airline, followed by Southwest Airlines in the US, Turkish, and SAS. 

Share of positive vs, negative tweets for the top 10 airlines

Seven of the airlines saw a form of patriotic respect after having flags of each country posted as the most used emoji. Turkish Airlines, SWISS, Polish Airlines LOT, Air Baltic, Aeroflot, Alitalia, and Austrian Airlines, all saw a push for patriotism and support for their national carriers. 

Events Industry

Another industry that took a major blow due to the current climate was the Events industry. Conferences, music festivals, marathons, and the world’s biggest sporting events were shut down or postponed to a later date.

SEMrush’s social media analysis identified which events and cancellations sparked major online debate and caused disappointment on Twitter. Dominating the discussions were sporting events; the next most talked about industry was music festivals. 

Number of tweets about cancelled events due to coronavirus

According to the research, Ultra Music Festival, SXSW, Coachella, and Formula 1, are all key events in 2020 that have resonated the most with online audiences. Both Ultra and SXSW are being vague about offering refunds to their attendees, which is causing topical debate online for music fans. It’s clear the discussion is a hot topic trending on social media as more than 2,000 tweets utilized the money emoji  ? in association with Ultra.

Amongst other top used emojis, we saw the crying face emoji ? to most likely express disappointment due to cancellations and date changes. 

emoji reactions to cancellations


Hotel, resort, and cruise line stocks fell an average of 22.2% from February 19 to February 27. 

Carnival’s stock was at a high of $43 on February 20 but has since declined to $12 on March 18 – a fall of 72% from its peak.

Hospitality industry covid-19 impact

Similarly, branded Google search volumes for major global hotels fell by an average of 4% from January to February. The worst-hit were Raffles Luxury Hotels (-33%), Choice Hotels (-19%), and Hotel Belmont, Aman Resorts, Ritz Carlton, and Disney Resort Hotels (all -18.5%). 

While search volumes for airlines are projected to recover in March, those for the major hotel chains are projected to decline even further in March by an industry average of 14.9%.

COVID-19 News In Online Searches

Google has altered its search results for coronavirus related queries. In just a matter of weeks, a simple SERP with the SOS alert on top has been transformed. Google keeps adding more features to the result page, including SOS alerts, Help and Information features, and Prevention, that we spotted in the US location after March 23. 

Snapshot of Google page showing coronavirus information.

Above is a snapshot of Google search results for “coronavirus” showing COVID-19 alert labels, Knowledge Panels with clickable sections, common questions, and latest news from the media. 

SEMrush analyzed 30 of the most popular United States media platforms to identify who benefited the most from covering the COVID-19 news. Heading the leaderboard was The New York Times and NBC. They both secured top spots in Google by hitting the first pages of coronavirus related organic online results 40 times. NBC News has appeared on top of the SERPs for 36 times. 

On average, the coronavirus related keywords improved organic presence of the media by four4 positions. With SEMrush estimations, media traffic in March for top US news outlets will show an increase at least by 11%. 

The coronavirus outbreak is worse than anyone could have imagined. We know how difficult and stressful this time is for every nation. Once we move past this crisis and get everyone well, we have to support one another and focus on repairing the impact on businesses worldwide.

Stay home and stay healthy! SEMrush will continue to provide you with the latest research, online search trends, and sentiment analysis that are key in highlighting the global economic change.

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