YouTube trends: What the UK watched in 2020

Dec 15, 2020 | Content marketing, Online advertising, Online video

YouTube trends: What the UK watched in 2020
In the face of the unexpected adversities of 2020, Brits have embraced a new found digital culture. To understand what the UK has been watching this year, YouTube has announced its end of year lists which reveal insights into the videos and creators that have captivated Brits’ attention in 2020.

Alongside this, YouTube has also released a first-of-its-kind global interactive Trends & Culture Report  into the societal and cultural trends that have brought the world together.

The UK tops lists include:

The UK’s top 10 breakout and top creators

  • Which includes Joe Wicks MBE claiming the #1 spot across UK trending videos, top creator and breakout creator lists

The top trending and music videos

  • Which showcases how British music has continued to be a booming global export this year. Where within the Top 10 music videos watched, nearly half (four) were from British artists including Aitch x AJ Tracey and Tion Wayne x Dutchavelli x Stormzy

The trends that have been keeping the UK entertained and connected over 2020

These include: How we’ve participated in shared experiences, how we’ve learnt new things, what’s kept us laughing, and how we’ve been sharing our true selves with the community.

What the UK watched

In the face of the unexpected adversities of 2020, Brits embraced digital culture and community. With Joe Wicks MBE (creator behind The Body Coach TV) claiming the #1 spot across UK trending videos, top creator and breakout creator lists, we see that a focus on health, fitness, and participation reigned supreme.

British music has continued to be a booming global export this year. Of the Top 10 music videos watched, nearly half (four) were from British artists including Aitch x AJ Tracey, ‘Rain feat. Tay Keith‘ and Tion Wayne x Dutchavelli x Stormzy ‘I Dunno’ — the third and sixth most watched videos respectively. Looking at genres, rap and hip-hop continued to dominate in 2020. With the exception of the huge Joel Corry x MNEK dance hit ‘Head & Heart’ and The Weeknd’s pop anthem ‘Blinding Lights’, the remaining eight top music videos were in the rap and hip-hop genres. Interestingly, within the top 10, two of the videos were uploaded by GRM Daily, showing us the continued importance of curation, and giving an insight into how the UK finds its new music.

Looking across the lists, Brits also sought out content to keep them entertained, connected with their communities, and on the cutting edge of culture, including:

  • Participating in shared experiences. When the UK went into lockdown, Joe Wicks MBE began live-streaming his family-friendly PE classes as a public service, which gave the country not just something to passively consume together but something to actively do together. This dynamic with fitness creators and their audiences was seen all over the world from Chloe Ting in Australia to Marina Takewaki in Japan.
  • Learning new things. New interests and hobbies show self-improvement was king, with gardening, home improvement, baking and learning how to play chess capturing big views across the globe with 80% of people saying they have watched DIY / How-to on online video platforms this year.
  • Keeping us laughing. Comedic creators and videos kept viewers entertained throughout the pandemic with videos such as WillNE’s ‘Making YouTubers Sing All Star – Smash Mouth Without Realising’ ranking at #5 in the Trending Videos list. Creators loved by their subscribers for their comedic videos also appear across the lists, with Sidemen, Eboys and Niko Omilana all featuring as Top Creators. Meanwhile, the equally hilarious Yung Filly creeps in at #10 on the Breakout Creators list.
  • Keeping sports fans in the game. The epic UEFA Champions League game between Barcelona vs Bayern Munich ranked as the #9 top trending video, with the UK watching the highlights on the BT Sport YouTube channel.
  • Gaming has its biggest year ever. YouTube’s top creators list shows the growing popularity of global gaming creators, with creators in this genre making up 4 of the Top Creators list (Dream, LazarBeam, Fresh, ZHC).
  • Sharing your true self with the community. Among the UK’s Top Trending videos, NikkieTutorials (#2) and Phillip Schofield (#3) of This Morning, shared their brave and inspiring stories of coming out about their gender identity and sexuality.

How the UK connect to global trends

This year, people all over the world came to YouTube to establish a new sense of culture at a distance, putting the platform firmly on the pulse of the people. New research from IPSOS (see stats below) alongside the resulting year-end lists from YouTube shows that creators and viewers changed their behaviours, but a shared goal to overcome adversity united us.

Creator Evolution

  • 78% of people used YouTube during 2020 to watch or access educational content accelerating the edu-trends seen on YouTube through previous years. Trends such as “teachers teaching teachers” reached a peak in April with 90% of the world’s enrolled students – or 1.5 billion people turning to YouTube to get help with homeschooling.

Audience interaction

  • 72% of people used YouTube during 2020 to exercise / keep fit. This is evident from Joe Wicks MBE growing success in the UK. But it’s not just Brits! Globally, Australian fitness creator Chloe Ting, famous for her abs workout, appears as the #3 Breakout Creator within the UK list.
  • 57% of people indicated they are open to watching creators that are brand new to the platform and don’t have an established following. In the UK, Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz quickly shot to internet stardom by bringing families and communities together to enjoy a weekly dose of fun, whilst staying indoors. Since going live in March 2020, the quiz has attracted over 50K households each week and has amassed over 12M views. Raising over £750K for charity, his amazing community work also earned him an MBE in October.

Overcoming adversity 

  • In the face of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and around the world, we saw an influx of videos by black creators articulating what their blackness means for them in the context of their country and life. This was a poignant reminder that YouTube goes far beyond entertainment and is an outlet to express thoughts and connect with others.
  • For creators: These videos reflect the effort to challenge the established narratives of “how things are”.
  • For viewers: People explored the broad desire to seek out viewpoints to gain a better understanding of the challenges of other communities.
  • The UK also embraced digital culture as a way to navigate through the adversity; connecting with their favourite creators to learn new skills and educate themselves. 72% of people using YouTube during 2020 searched to develop a new hobby and 82% of people used YouTube during 2020 to learn to do things myself.

Roya Zeitoune, Head of YouTube Culture & Trends, EMEA said: “2020 has brought about astounding change. It’s altered the way we work, communicate, learn and live. But Brits haven’t let this year’s challenges stop them. Whether it’s gardening or a new skill in the kitchen, staying fit with Joe Wicks MBE or finding creative ways to keep British community alive with weekly pub quizzes from home, YouTube’s look back at 2020 proves that Brits have focused on overcoming adversity by participating in digital culture. The UK turned to YouTube to find the content they love, shared by the people and voices they relate to and recognise. The access to authentic connection as well as unexpected joys are what YouTube is all about and why it remains on the cutting edge of culture.“

Joe Wicks MBE, creator behind The Body Coach TV: “What an incredible year. The pandemic has been really tough for everyone, but I’m so proud that I was able to help so many people with my workouts on YouTube. I never could have imagined that ‘PE with Joe’ would take off the way it did, but it will always be one of my most proudest achievements.”

YouTube UK – End of Year Lists 2020 

UK – Top trending videos 

  1. The Body Coach (UK) – P.E with Joe | Monday 23rd March 2020
  2. Sidemen (UK) – Sidemen Reunited Mukbang
  3. This Morning (UK) – Phillip Schofield Opens up About Being Gay | This Morning
  4. NikkieTutorials (NL) – I’m Coming Out.
  5. WillNE (UK) – Making YouTubers Sing All Star – Smash Mouth Without Realising
  6. Sky Sports Boxing (UK) – FULL FIGHT! Jake Paul vs AnEsonGib
  7. MrBeast (US) – $250,000 Influencer Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament
  8. Britain’s Got Talent (UK) – Golden Buzzer! Sign Along With Us put on the GREATEST show in EMOTIONAL Audition | BGT 2020
  9. BT Sport (UK) – Barcelona vs Bayern Munich (2-8) | UEFA Champions League highlights 10. JeffreeStar (US) – We Broke Up

UK – Breakout creators 

  1. The Body Coach TV (UK) 
  2. Dream (US) 
  3. Chloe Ting (AU) 
  4. Vikkstar123 (UK) 
  5. charli d’amelio (US) 
  6. Dixie D’Amelio (US) 
  7. Hyram (US) 
  8. GeorgeNotFound (US) 
  9. Addison Rae (US) 
  10. Yung Filly (UK) 

UK – Top creators 

  1. The Body Coach TV (UK)
  2. MrBeast (US)
  3. Sidemen (UK)
  4. Dream (US)
  5. Eboys (UK)
  6. LazarBeam (AU)
  7. Niko Omilana (UK)
  8. ZHC (US)
  9. Fresh (AU)
  10. MollyMae (UK)

UK – Top music videos 

  1. Future, Life Is Good ft. Drake 
  2. 6IX9INE, Gooba
  3. Aitch x AJ Tracey, Rain ft. Tay Keith 
  4. Joel Corry x MNEK, Head & Heart
  5. DaBaby, Rockstar FT Roddy Ricch
  6. Tion Wayne x Dutchavelli x Stormzy, I Dunno
  7. The Weeknd, Blinding Lights
  8. Dutchavelli, Only If You Knew
  9. Eminem, Godzilla ft. Juice WRLD 
  10. Drake, Toosie Slide

Methodology 

UK -Top Trending Videos: “Based on in-country views of videos uploaded in 2020, excluding music videos, trailers, and children’s videos. Source: Google data, Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2020.”

UK – Breakout Creators: “Based on in-country subscribers gained in 2020, excluding channels from artists, brands, media companies, and children’s content. Only channels with +200% YoY growth in 2020 (tripling in size). Source: Google data, Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2020.”

UK – Top Creators: “Based on in-country subscribers gained in 2020, excluding channels from artists, brands, media companies, and children’s content. Source: Google data, Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2020.”

UK – Top Music Videos: “Based on in-country views of official music videos uploaded in 2020. Source: Google data, Jan 1 – Nov 15, 2020.”

 

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