Yahoo Year in Review: The rollercoaster that is 2020

Yahoo Year in Review: The rollercoaster that is 2020

SINGAPORE, December 9 2020 – By any measure, 2020 is one of the most momentous years over the past century. It was a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, political upheavals and tragic deaths even as the entertainment world continues to bring a ray of hope under trying circumstances.

The past 50-odd weeks have kept netizens in Singapore glued to their devices in search of information, ideas and opinions about the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. From Singapore’s General Election, the royal members of Buckingham Palace, the Kardashian-Jenner family, to comfort food such as nasi lemak and bubble tea, these subjects have gripped netizens as they adjusted to life under safe distancing restrictions and continued to seek out their passions.

As the year draws to a close, Yahoo’s Year in Review 2020 takes a look at the top happenings, people, products and trends in 2020.

Top newsmakers of 2020: Pandemic searches rule

Unsurprisingly, Singapore COVID-19 was the most searched news term in 2020 as users remain fixated on the pandemic; related searches such as the Singapore Budget 2020 (3rd) and Malaysia Lockdown (7th) also appeared on the list.

World politics and politicians featured prominently, with Donald Trump (2nd) and rival Joe Biden (10th) appearing on the list. Closer to home, Mahatir Mohamad (5th) dominated the political drama in neighbouring Malaysia, as did Kim Jong-Un (8th), the leader of North Korea.

The tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant (4th) and George Floyd (9th), and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong (6th) underscored 2020 as a tumultuous year.

Most searched politicians: Singapore GE 2020 and political drama

In 2020, Singapore held an election dominated by online campaigning with the absence of physical rallies due to safe distancing restrictions. Political parties mostly engaged voters online even as they conducted limited canvassing on the ground. The leading party candidates from various political parties made it to the top searches.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the most searched politician this year as he sought to calm the nation in his addresses about the pandemic, testified in court over the libel suits filed by him, and remained in the news managing the dispute with his siblings over the 38 Oxley Road saga.

First-time Workers’ Party (WP) election candidate Jamus Lim (2nd) drew considerable attention for his eloquent speeches. Ivan Lim (3rd), the People’s Action Party’s (PAP)’s prospective candidate, made the news for the wrong reasons after he withdrew his candidacy over allegations about his character. The other candidates who made the list were the founder of Peoples Voice Lim Tean (8th), and Dr Chee Soon Juan (10th), the leader of Singapore Democratic Party.

Most searched local celebrities: JJ Lin and Fann Wong rule at the top

Celebrities such as JJ Lin, Lawrence Wong, Desmond Tan, Benjamin Kheng, Fann Wong, Jamie Yeo, Zoe Tay, and Joanne Peh continued to be among the most searched local celebrities for the second year running.

JJ Lin, arguably Singapore’s most famous export in the Mandopop world, topped the list of most searched local male celebrities. Lawrence Wong (2nd), who has been making waves since his role in Yanxi Palace, tantalised fans with his comment about his yearning for a girlfriend in his announcement on his partnership with Guerlain. Mark Lee (7th) secured his spot on the list with his nomination for Best Actor at the prestigious Golden Horse Awards for his role in the local film, Number 1.

In the list of most searched local female celebrities, Fann Wong came in tops as she endeared herself with her fans, sharing personal letters and recipes from her baking adventures. TV and radio presenter, Jamie Yeo (2nd), rose in the list after she launched her jewellery label and entertained users with posts of her family. Jamie Chua (3rd) continued to awe readers as the socialite shared her luxe life and collection of branded goods. However, Chua drew brickbats after she posted insensitive comments about migrant workers.

Most searched international celebrities: Hyun Bin, Meghan Markle take top spots

Asian celebrities were amongst the most searched male and female international celebrities this year. Stars of popular K-drama Crash Landing on You, Hyun Bin and Son Ye-Jin came in first amongst the males and fourth amongst the females respectively. Other Asian celebrities included Lee Min-ho (3rd) and Aaron Kwok (4th) for male international celebrities, and Kim Chiu (6th) in the female category. Grief over young icons gone too soon, such as the deaths of Taiwanese celebrity Alien Huang (2nd), and Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput (7th), triggered significant online interest.

The British royal family kept users in Singapore intrigued. Meghan Markle was the most searched female international celebrity while Prince Harry came in fifth amongst the male international celebrities. Duchess Kate Middleton came in second as she wooed users with the happenings of her daily life.

Most searched movies and TV shows: K-wave surges in Singapore

South Korean movies and series filled nine out of 10 of the most searched movies and TV shows in Singapore, with the Hollywood remake of Mulan (5th) making an appearance. Popular South Korean series Crash Landing on You and The World of the Married clinched the top two spots, with Oscar-winning film Parasite rounding up the top three. South Korean variety show Running Man (4th) continues to be among the top searches, beating newer television series such as The King: Eternal Monarch, Itaewon Class, Kingdom, Ever Night, and Dr. Romantic 2, with the latter four ranking from sixth to tenth place respectively.

Top 10 beauty brands: Emerging trends power searches in Singapore 

Despite spending more time in their homes this year, people in Singapore remained eager to invest in their appearance. Sephora topped the list for most searched beauty brands in 2020. Reflecting an emerging trend amongst Singapore online shoppers for clean beauty and ethically-sourced products, The Body Shop made the list at number 2, while brow and lash grooming salon Browhaus ranked eighth as people adopted mask-friendly beauty trends that accentuate the eyes. Fascination with all-things Korean transcended off-screen as Singapore netizens went in search of K-beauty brands Innisfree (3rd), Sulwhasoo (7th), and Etude House (9th), riding the surging K-wave popularity across the island.

Top 10 food/drink related searches: Nasi lemak, dim sum, and other local delicacies

Eating is our national pastime and has made us every chef’s most demanding food critics. As Singaporeans continued to be deprived of travelling, local delicacies took over the top searches, taking seven spots out of the Top 10 list. Nasi lemak emerged as the most searched, followed by dim sum. There seems to be no end to the bubble tea craze, coming in third, as evident during the mad rush for bubble tea before and after the circuit breaker. Dalgona coffee (4th) has been trending across the world and in Singapore.

Notably, aglio olio (10th) was the only non-local food item that made the list this year.


As COVID-19 upended the lives of Singaporeans and people around the world, ‘Singapore Covid 19’, ‘Coronavirus updates/news’ and ‘Coronavirus worldometer’ became the top three pandemic search terms. ‘Circuit breaker’, ‘coronavirus symptoms’, ‘TraceTogether’, and ‘coronavirus vaccine’ also emerged among the top search terms, coming in at fourth to eighth place respectively.

Most searched events: Sporting and elections fever

As events were cancelled and postponed due to the pandemic, sporting events that continue to be staged were top-of-mind for users in Singapore with football, basketball, and tennis dominating the most searched events list. Popular searches include the English Premier League (1st), NBA (3rd), UEFA Champions League (5th), FA Cup (8th), and the Australian Open (6th), French Open (9th) and US Open (10th).

Election fever gripped readers with the United States Presidential Elections (2nd) and the 2020 Singapore General Elections (4th) making it to the Top 10 list. Despite a much scaled down National Day Parade (7th), the annual event to rally the nation remained a subject of great interest among users. 

Yahoo editorial picks: Top happenings that riveted the nation

GE2020 and high profile court cases were all-consuming topics in Singapore in a year dominated by the pandemic.

The stunning win by WP’s Sengkang GRC team was picked by Yahoo editors as the top event in GE 2020. PM Lee Hsien Loong, leader of the opposition Pritam Singh, and political veteran Tan Cheng Bock were the leading figures who made an impact in GE 2020.

Among the top picks of the biggest court dramas by Yahoo editors were the Parti Liyani case, Lee Suet Fern, who was suspended for 15 months over the handling of Lee Kuan Yew’s will, and PM Lee’s defamation suits against Leong Sze Hian and The Online Citizen chief editor Terry Xu, the man who was sentenced to death for murdering his wife and child in Woodlands, and a molest case involving a Singapore Management University student.

For the biggest moments online and other surprises from the year, take a detailed look at Yahoo’s Year in Review 2020 – More top picks and listings, such as the Top 10 Key Figures of GE 2020, Top 10 Court Cases that got Singapore’s attention, and the Biggest Celebrity Controversies of 2020, will be revealed from 7 December to 10 January.

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