16 November 2008

Food & Drink Searches in the US, Canada, Germany, Russia, Italy, France, Brazil, Japan and India

Today I looked at Google searches about food and drink collectively by a series of countries. What is more, I used the option to show trend lines for each year which should bring out seasonalities. I started with the US:

The two high points of the year were Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November) and Christmas. Next, Canada:

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on a different date: the second Monday of October. This was reflected in the trend lines. Surely, Christmas will also be the gastronomical top in Germany?

Indeed. Note the more gradual buildup toward Weihnachten though. Also, Easter was becoming more pronounced here. That holiday follows a complicated set of rules involving a lunisolar calendar and fell in the Western rite of Christianity on different dates: April 11, 2004; March 27, 2005; April 16, 2006; April 8, 2007; March 23, 2008. Let's go to a prime representative of the Eastern rite of Christianity: Russia.

Primarily because the Eastern rite doesn't follow the Gregorian calendar but instead still uses the Julian one, their Christmases do not always coincide with the Western ones: April 11, 2004; May 1, 2005; April 23, 2006; April 8, 2007; April 27, 2008. We did see a small increase at that time in 2004, 2007 and 2008 but not in the other years. It seemed like Easter wasn't as big a deal as in the Western rite. Christmas trumped everything. Next, Italy:

This displayed a more "multipolar" seasonality: Christmas and Easter, sure, but also mid-February and more. I guess it goes to show that Italians like to celebrate on many occasions—good for them! How about the other stereotypical bon vivants, France?

Besides Christmas, a peak in mid-August also showed. But more interesting was that the search volume went up dramatically in March 2008 as compared with the previous years. Odd. Off to South America I went to investigate Brazil.

Easter was almost as important as Christmas for Brazilians. I wondered what the mid-June increase stood for. It turns out that June 12 is the Dia dos Namorados, a kind of Valentine's Day. Note the more or less increasing search volume through the years. How about Japan?

Even though this country isn't really much Christian, Yuletide was most noticeable in the seasonal trends. It has become kind of a secular, imported holiday. Second most important was early June which I wasn't able to link to any specific holiday or festivity. Does anybody have an idea? Finally, I did an analysis of India:

I couldn't observe any noticeable seasonal peaks in Google searches for food and drink. However, there was a remarkable peak in September 2007. Maybe this had to do with India winning the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 championship? I really don't know. Maybe somebody can help on this one too.

One more thing: I did a quick tally of the top 3 search terms in the analyzed countries, totaling all the occurrences:

Obviously, most people search the internet for recipes or for restaurants. Sushi occurred in the top 3 only in Russia (not Japan!), wine in Germany (not France!). Ramen though was only popular in Japan.

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