Forget Christmas, Google Trends tells us that GDPR is still at the top of our lists – even as the run up to the festive season begins.


Inspired by the abundance of articles in May 2018 from the likes of Quartz – ‘GDPR is bigger than Beyoncé according to Google search traffic’ – we began to wonder what else the topic of GDPR was beating in the search stakes, even over 18 months on from the introduction of the legislation in the UK.

We did a bit of digging on Google Trends to see how four of our favourite Christmas search terms compared when it comes to search interest. Here’s the results, from the least to most popular...

GDPR is more popular than Brussels sprouts
Image & data: Google Trends

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts

In last place, well behind GDPR in the popularity stakes was the nation’s most divisive Christmas vegetable – the Brussels sprout. Over the last seven days (from the 27th November to the 4th December), Google calculated that searchers’ interest in Brussels sprouts had an average score of just 2. This is calculated relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region (the UK) and time (27th Nov – 4th Dec). Where a score of 100 represents peak popularity for the search term, a score of 2 suggests that things aren’t looking so good for sprouts as we start the lead up to Christmas dinner.

Mariah Carey & Christmas Crackers

christmas crackers
Mariah Carey for Walkers Crisps
Image: Walkers

In second-to-last place, it’s a tie between two of our favourite Christmas Google searches – Mariah Carey and Christmas Crackers. Compared to Brussels sprouts, these two are getting a lot closer to reaching the popularity levels of GDPR, with Google giving them both an average search interest score of 30 for this period. But, if all Mariah wanted for Christmas 2019 was to be a more popular internet search term than GDPR, she might be out of luck! Even this year’s Mariah and Walkers crisps advert celebrating 25 years of her Christmas hit ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ might not be enough to boost her UK popularity above that of GDPR when it comes to Google search interest.

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine in mugs

With a search interest score of 33 from Google Trends, the most festive of all alcoholic drinks peaked in popularity during the weekend of November 30th – December 1st. It seems that in the UK many of us enjoy a glass or two of warming mulled wine to kick off the festive month!

And the winner is...GDPR

European GDPR legislation

None of our chosen festive items could beat GDPR in the search stakes. With an average search interest score of 35 in this 7-day period, the General Data Protection Regulation proved even more popular as a search term than these festive favourites. Even with the distractions of the festive season on our minds, GDPR is still centre stage.

So, what was the point of all this comparison? Why pit GDPR against Brussels sprouts in the first place? Yes – it’s a little bit of light-hearted, festive fun. But, in all seriousness, the topic of GDPR is clearly still on our minds. Despite it being over 18 months since it was first introduced, many of us are still feeling the pressure of understanding and complying with GDPR – or we simply wouldn’t be searching for it.

From the responsibility placed on an individual in the event of a data breach, to the length of time an organisation has to respond to a Subject Access Request (it’s 30 days), Google’s search data highlights the continued widespread interest in what GDPR means and how organisations can comply with it.

Next time you have a question to put to Google about GDPR, consider whether you’d even need to ask it if you knew exactly what your organisation’s information landscape looked like, the scope of your dark data (for most UK organisations, around 59% of all their stored information is ‘dark’ – meaning its value and risk is unknown), where any personal data was stored within your networks, and how easy it would be to collate and access it to fulfill a Subject Access Request. Good information governance is the best route to GDPR compliance.

If a PII finder solution is top of your organisation’s Christmas list this year, take a look at how InsightMaker can help. Read our one-page summary of the GDPR problem facing organisations like yours, and its solution.