Top Naver searches in Korea for 2020

Naver released their list of top search results in Korea for 2020 a few weeks ago. Here they are and as usual I've translated them into English and added some explanatory commentary. Not a particularly fascinating list this year and it seems surprisingly to lack a lot of the more controversial politics news that I imagined would have trended more. I wonder if Naver sort of scrubs the list to clean up any let's call them "inconsistencies" that would otherwise appear. Or maybe just their focus on absolute searches drowns out those other more temporary terms.

Anyway here's the list for Naver this year and of course you can also check out my lists this year from Google and Twitter.


Overall Top Naver Searches in South Korea for 2020

These are the top absolute search terms for the year, meaning unlike the list of top Google searches, these are not adjusted for particular 2020 popularity. These are the straight up most commonly searched terms in this year, so expect a lot of basic searches for quick info checks or getting to other websites, in addition to the biggest impact issues. 

Since most of these will be self evident, I'll only make a few little comments on certain terms. 

Top Naver searches of 2020 from mobile devices

  1. 코로나19 - COVID-19
  2. 날씨 - weather
  3. 코로나 - Coronavirus
  4. 코로나확진자 - Coronavirus infection numbers
  5. 유튜브 - YouTube
  6. 구글 - Google
  7. 로또당첨번호조회 - Lottery numbers
  8. 삼성전자 - Samsung Electronics
  9. 다음 - Daum
  10. 로또 - Lotto
  11. 네이버부동산 - Naver Real Estate
  12. e학습터 - Cyber Learning System
    An online learning platform that was relatively obscure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but exploded in use as pretty much every provincial education office required elementary and middle schools to use it. 
  13. 길찾기 - maps
  14. 환율 - exchange rate
  15. 쿠팡 - Coupang
    Popular online shopping website, similar to Amazon
  16. 네이버증권 - Naver Stocks
  17. ebs온라인클래스 - EBS Online Class
    Most students in Korea had to transition to online learning for much of this year and EBS educational broadcast lectures were a common requirement. 
  18. 오늘날씨 - today's weather
  19. 네이트판 - Nate Pann
    Probably the most popular part of 3rd ranked portal website Nate, Nate Pann (from 게시판, notice board, like an online forum) is a great place to gauge social issues in Korea. There are many boards for discussion but the "Talk Talk" (톡톡) section has the best and biggest. Stories, complaints, advice about dealing with in-laws, creepy bosses, etc.
  20. 삼성전자주가 - Samsung Electronics stock price

Top Naver searches for 2020 from desktop PC

  1. 유튜브 - YouTube
  2. 다음 - Daum
  3. 구글 - Google
  4. 쿠팡 - Coupang
  5. 유튜브바로가기 - YouTube direct link
    Some people laugh when they notice that the majority of the top Naver searches are just searches for particular websites. Why not just type the URL, you ask? There are actually a few good reasons if you ask me: many URLs are in English and not all people are comfortable typing or spelling in English, and Navering the website (of your bank, say) helps avoid phishing scams from users who make a typo and end up on a shady copycat site. 
  6. ebs온라인클래스 - EBS Online Class
  7. 코로나 - Coronavirus
  8. e학습터 - Cyber Learning System (see above)
  9. 코로나19 - COVID19
  10. 환율 - exchange rate
  11. 농협인터넷뱅킹 - Nonhyup Internet banking
  12. 날씨 - weather
  13. 국민은행 - Kookmin Bank
  14. 맞춤법검사기 - "spell check
    Brings up a Naver onebox result where you can perform a quick spelling/grammar/punctuation check of a piece of text of 500 characters, right inside the Naver search results. See below for an image of it. Nice quick way to double check your email or message before sending it off.  
  15. 넷플릭스 - Netflix
  16. 국세청홈텍스 - Hometax
    The Korean IRS website
  17. 삼성전자 - Samsung Electronics
  18. 파파고 - Papago
    Online multilingual translator made by Naver which really does work great and easily rivals Google's own translation service
  19. 코로나확진자 - Corona patient numbers
  20. 사람인 - Saramin 
    Job search and recruiting company

Naver spelling check tool

Now to get a better idea of some of the big impactful cultural moments, here are the searches broken down into the most popular terms for each month. 

Top Naver searches of 2020 by Month on mobile

  1. JAN - 사랑의불시착 - "Crash Landing on You" (drama)
  2. FEB - 이태원클라쓰 - "Itaewon Class" (drama)
  3. MAR - 공적마스크 - Government provisioned masks
    The Korean government started providing rationed supplies of masks to citizens amidst a mask shortage in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily production ramped up pretty quickly and cheap masks are everywhere now. Sometimes it pays to have manufacturing facilities close to home. 
  4. APR - 부부의세계 - "The World of the Married"
    Drama, based on British drama "Doctor Foster"
  5. MAY - 부부의세계 - "The World of the Married" 
  6. JUN - 셀트리온 - Celltrion
    Domestic pharmaceutical company, probably big this month on news that it was buying other patent/trade rights and developing a coronavirus treatment, and probably was therefore scooped up by foreign stock buyers. [Update on the treatment.]
  7. JUL - 박원순 - Park Wonsoon
    The mayor of Seoul committed suicide this month after allegations of impropriety with his secretary, though police apparently found no solid evidence which some are disputing.
  8. AUG - 기상특보 - Breaking weather news
    Doing this search brings up a onebox result highlighting current weather dangers across Korea. Probably related to typhoon season. See an example below.
  9. SEPT - 태풍 - typhoon
    Typhoon Bavi was the strongest storm of 2020 in Korea and made landfall in August but Typhoons Maysak and Haishen apparently kept users on edge. Luckily this year's typhoon damage was pretty light.
  10. OCT - 아이린 - Irene
    Member of K-pop group Red Velvet. One of her stylists publicized in October that Irene was a spoiled bully.  
  11. NOV - 박지선 - Park Ji-sun (Not to be confused with soccer star Park Ji-sung)
    Popular and well-liked female comedian who, along with her mother, committed suicide this month. Park had long suffered from a sense of unattractiveness and skin sensitivity making both her life and her career difficult. Unlike many of the "gag" type comedians, Park was relatively highly educated as a Korea University graduate and tended to a more creative/intelligent brand of humor. She was also popular on social media for her genuinely heartfelt and close relationship with her mother, making their choice to double suicide extra tragic. 

Naver weather alerts onebox result

Top Naver searches of 2020 by Month on desktop PC

Most of these are repeats but it's interesting how the desktop searches are more sort of formal and professional. Surely we all use our PCs and our phones for pretty different behaviors. 

  1. JAN - 연말정산간소화서비스 - End-of-year tax return service
  2. FEB - 신천지 - Shincheonji Church
    The evangelical Christian group, some would say cult, at the center of the Daegu outbreak of coronavirus, one of the earliest mass infections to occur in South Korea and probably the real "kick start" of the pandemic locally.  
  3. MAR - 코스피 - KOSPI
    Korean stock index
  4. APR - 김정은 - Kim Jong-un
    Rumors of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un spread this month.
  5. MAY - 긴급재난지원급 - Government stimulus money
  6. JUNE - 번역기 - translator
    Returns a Papago translation box in the results
  7. JUL - 박원순 - Park Wonsoon (see above)
  8. AUG - 태풍 - Typhoon
  9. SEP - 글자수셰기 - Character counter
    This search brings up a onebox result that, you guessed it, counts characters in your message. I'm curious why this would be such a popular term in September. Perhaps related to school exams?
  10. OCT - 아이린 - Irene (see above)
  11. NOV - 박지선 - Park Ji-sun (see above)

Naver onebox Character Counter tool

Top Naver Searches of 2020 by Category

I don't think these really need commentary so I'll just type out the list itself. 

인물 - People

  1. 임영웅 - Lim Young-woong
    First place winner of insanely popular singing contest show "Mr. Trot"
  2. 방탄소년단 - BTS
  3. 김호중 - Kim Hojung
    Another popular performer on Mr. Trot. Apparently enjoys some mild gambling
  4. 박원순 - Park Wonsoon (see above)
  5. 김정은 - Kim Jong-un (see above)

예능 - Entertainment (all are TV variety programs)

  1. 미스터트롯 - Mr. Trot
  2. 나혼자산다 - I Live Alone
  3. 하트시그널시즌3 - Heart Signal season 3
  4. 놀면뭐하니 - Hangout with Yoo
  5. 러닝맨 - Running Man

드라마 - Dramas

  1. 부부의세계 - World of the Married
  2. 이태원클라쓰 - Itaewon Class
  3. 사랑의불시착 - Crash Landing on You [Personal note: terrible show, but best introductory plot idea]
  4. 슬기로운의사생활 - Hospital Playlist [Personal note: usually I dislike when they make up new titles for shows in English instead of sticking with the Korean title but in this case it somehow suits the show much better than "Sensible Doctor Life". Korean show titles always seem to be sort of much more literal than American show names that tend to rely on metaphor]
  5. 한번다녀왔습니다 - Once Again

There you have it. See the original Naver post for these results here:
2020년 네이버 검색어 결산을 공개합니다. : 네이버 블로그

And if you enjoyed this, you can find other top lists from this year, and past years, here:
🔗 10원 Tips: Year in Review