The 100 most popular websites of 2020: BBC overtakes Facebook

Feb 5, 2021 | Content marketing, Online advertising, UK

Google has retained its top spot in the UK, while Amazon.co.uk grew 40% in traffic in 2020 alone compared to the previous year, according to new research looking at the most popular web domains in the UK.

The UK Domain has revealed the top 100 websites of 2020 in a brand new study that highlights how our internet behaviours have changed over the past year.

The BBC.co.uk website overtook Facebook.co.uk and grew 10% in traffic, while travel and transport websites dropped as much as 21% compared to the previous year, according to the report.

2020 has been a tumultuous year for everyone as the population was forced to stayed inside their homes and therefore relied on technology more than ever. Businesses had to adapt to a more online world which in turn impacted so many people’s online habits. These changes have affected the way people use the internet, and the results of the UK Domain’s study highlight the impact this unusual year has had on online behaviours.

The top 100 websites of 2020

The internet was the saving grace for many people in 2020. It allowed businesses to continue functioning as employees were able to work from home and families that live miles from each other could stay connected with the help of online video chatting services. As the world news constantly evolved, we were able to stay up to date with the latest guidance with the help of online news outlets, as well as the NHS website becoming entirely free to use whether you have data or not, allowing it to become accessible to all.

BBC overtakes Facebook for the first time in years

Possibly one of the most surprising changes to online behaviour in 2020 was the BBC overtaking Facebook in total traffic, as the reputable news source grew by 10.2% compared with the previous year. It can be assumed that the demand for more reliable news as the pandemic played out has caused this development for the BBC, as Facebook’s reputation for fuelling fake news stories has become apparent in recent years seeing them decline by 6% in 2020 alone.

Traffic to the NHS website DOUBLED in the past two years

The UK has relied on the NHS website more now than ever before. As a way of gathering reliable information and support, it is no surprise that the total traffic for the NHS website grew by 21% compared to 2019, and recorded a monumental 802million visits in 2020, which has more than doubled since 2018. Similarly, as Covid continues to affect people across the UK, Healthline.com has grown by a massive 45% and recorded an additional 144million visits to the site in 2020. Health is definitely a topic on everyone’s lips.

Ecommerce websites have boomed

Hinting towards our increased shopping habits in 2020, e-Commerce websites have appeared most in the top 100 than any other type of website. Websites such as Amazon, eBay and Argos all witnessed dramatic traffic increases in 2020, accounting for 14% of total UK traffic in the top 100. Amazon in particular jumped 40% compared with the previous year increasing in traffic by almost 13billion.

Travel and transport websites experience huge declines

Sadly, as e-Commerce has boomed, the travel and transport industry have experienced huge declines in website traffic numbers in the UK. With much of international and domestic travel halted, websites such as Trainline and Transport For London have fallen off the top 100 in 2020. Although websites such as Booking.com and Tripadvisor managed to stay in the top 100, both have experienced huge declines in annual traffic in 2020 of around 21%.

The world’s top websites of 2020

The top 100 websites globally tell a different story than the UK. Although search engines still dominate, they’re much more prevalent along with their international domains and country specific search engines such as Yandex in Russia.
On an international scale, Google.com ranks as the most popular website in the world. And as the demand for online resources continues, it is predicted that Google.com will stay on top and dominate the search engine world.

Interestingly in 2020 we’ve seen some behaviour changes for the top 100 websites. In 2018, only 6 news websites appeared in the global top 100, however in 2020 there are now 15.

This globalisation of news media could be due to the demand for reliable information regarding international relations and trades as the world becomes more connected through the internet, as well as the pandemic affecting almost every country in the world and people are looking for more trusted news sources.

The full index of the top 100 most popular websites can be found here.

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