Crochet, calligraphy and crosswords are picking up in popularity as people increasingly stay home - but computer games are by far the biggest winner.

Analysis of Kiwis' Google activity found there was a 400 per cent surge in searches for computer games in March compared to the same month last year.

Searches for online games also shot up 223 per cent while interest in board games jumped by 355 per cent, according to the research carried out by e-commerce company Picodi.

Self-improvement activities have also been popular, with searches for online courses, such as Udemy, up by 133 per cent. Picodi's analysis department speculated that the uncertainty in the labour market had made internet users look for opportunities to seek extra qualifications.


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Workouts placed fifth with a 72 per cent increase, as gyms closed down over amid fear of the virus spreading.

Creative activities like crocheting (48 per cent) and calligraphy (13 per cent) have also increased in popularity, while searches related to home cleaning increased by 11 per cent.

Oddly, Google searches for gardening (4 per cent) and cooking (5 per cent) have barely increased. This flies in the face of reports of panic buying of vegetable seedlings at garden centres and supermarkets' baking aisles sitting empty as the lockdown approached near the end of March.


The analysis also found activities that required leaving the house had dived in popularity. In news that will surprise nobody, searches for the cinema, theatres and concerts have seen the biggest drop in search volumes, with around 80 per cent fewer searches.

Dancing and photography have also become less popular, dropping by almost 60 per cent in recent weeks.

Corrie Walker has had enough of her hair after two weeks in lockdown, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. Video / Corrie Walker

Perhaps more surprisingly, home renovation has also been searched 40 per cent less, despite Kiwis spending almost all their time at home. However do-it-yourself searches have increased by 24 per cent.

Searches for games that can be played indoors showed by far the biggest increase in search queries. Image / Picodi
Searches for games that can be played indoors showed by far the biggest increase in search queries. Image / Picodi

The report does not show how popular the given activities were to start with. It also doesn't give the full picture of how the current lockdown has affected Google searches - given the lockdown only came into effect at 11.59pm on March 25.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the country today Cabinet would wait till April 20 - two days before the end of the four-week lockdown period - to make a decision on whether to move out of alert level 4.


It's still not clear what alert level 3 will look like. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website