The year 2022 has been another dynamic year when many countries decided to live with COVID-19 and started opening up the barricades. Yet Russia broke a war against Ukraine in February, and it is still ongoing. FIFA Worldcup was held in Qatar, and the myriad of new media content gained fame and entertained many people.
The article will discuss the TOP 10 keywords of Google Korea to find out the most popular topics in Korea in 2022 and understand what this country in East Asia thinks is significant and interesting. The first theme is climate change; the second is interest in media content; the third is Korea’s ardent support for its national team, and the fourth is interest in major domestic and international affairs. The last topic is Teacher’s Day.
As many scholars and researchers deem 2023 will be another dynamic or more likely harsher year, understanding the culture of a target market is becoming more important. This article can be a helpful start step to understanding the culture and tendencies of the Korean people for those who seek to expand to the Korean market.
Google Korea announced the TOP 10 Trend Keywords of 2022, and interestingly, the first keyword was “기후변화” which means climate change. ESG has been a significant theme in Korea, and it is assumed that “Climate Change Awareness Weak” (April 22nd ~ April 28th) was a factor that has made this keyword the TOP 1 keyword of 2022 in Korea. Plus, the TOP 3 keyword was “초단기 강수 예측” (very short-term precipitation prediction). This keyword was popularly used during the summer, as it has rained 2.4 more days than the average year (2022: 40.9 days vs. Avg: 38.5 days). This can also relate to that TOP 1 keyword was climate change, and it shows Koreans are considering changes in weather seriously.
Theme 2: Media Content
The 2nd and 7th keywords were the titles of Korean dramas, and the 9th keyword is a famous online game in Korea. The 2nd keyword, Extraordinary Attorney Woo, was popular not only in Korea but also in Japan and many other countries in the world, as it was introduced on Netflix. The drama’s heartwarming and encouraging story and characters touched many audiences, and its highest viewer rating was 17.8%. The 7th keyword, The Accidental Narco, Narco-saints, was a drama published on Netflix. It provided audiences with an action-packed, breathtaking drama against a Korean drug dealer who was active in the Republic of Suriname. It was ranked as the TOP 1 non-English drama on Netflix Global.
The 9th keyword is an online MMORPG game, Lost Ark, and it was ranked in the TOP 10 two years in a row. It is quite unusual to see a single game maintain users’ attention for this long, so Lost Ark can be a good benchmark for game developers who aim to target the Korean game market. Overall, the 2nd theme, media content, shows that Koreans like watching dramas and also like to search for them on the web when they think a drama is really good. Plus, it is noteworthy that a game made in the TOP 10 Google Trend Keywords two years consecutively.
Theme 3: National Team Athletes
The 4th and 6th keywords are related to soccer. the 4th was “2022 FIFA Qatar Worldcup” and the 6th “Tottenham vs. K-League XI.” The Korean people do like playing soccer and watching it also, but they seem to be more enthusiastic when it comes down to the national athletes. The 2022 Worldcup gained more attention as the national team went up to the Best 16 of the tournament for the first time in 12 years. “Tottenham and K-League XI” was searched for because a Korean soccer player, Heung-min Son, is the ace striker of the team, and the entire team visited Korea during the off-season and played a friendly match against the best 11 of Korean professional soccer league. This shows that Koreans love and care for their national athletes especially when they perform well in the world-level stages.
Theme 4: Major Domestic & Foreign Events
The next theme includes two major events that occurred domestically or internationally. The 5th keyword is a tragedic accident that happened in Itaewon during Halloween. Nearly 500 people lost their lives when they were crushed in a shallow street in a crowd. Most victims were 10s and 20s, and the government announced a week of national morning for the victims. The 8th keyword was Ukraine, and it is obvious why the nation is so popularly searched for. Yet it is interesting that the keyword is simply “Ukraine” instead of “Ukraine-Russia War” or “Russia War.” It can be understood that the Korean people lean toward the weaker and attacked side, rather than the one who started the fight. These two keywords are bearing on heartbreaking news and issues big enough to gain much attention.
Last Theme: Teacher's Day
The last keyword of Google Korea’s Trend Keywords was Teacher’s Day. It is noteworthy that Teacher’s Day was more popularly searched for than Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. It can be a whole other article to discuss why the Korean people searched for Teacher’s Day so often as it needs more discussion rather than simply thinking the people in this country value and respect teachers highly. Korea Federation of Teachers’ Association asked 8,431 teachers on 2022 Teacher’s Day whether they would become a teacher even if they were born again, but the “yes” was only 29.9%. It was the first time the positive answer rate went lower than 30%. This may not be the only reason why Teacher’s Day was so popularly searched on Google, yet the controversy surrounding teachers’ authority is definitely something that draws much attention among the Korean people lately.
This article briefly discussed Google Korea’s Trend Keywords in 2022 and laid out a couple of themes and interests by analyzing the keywords and assuming what the Korean people thought interesting and paid attention to. Overall, the Korean people are sensitive to climate change and booming dramas. They are then enthusiastic about their national athletes especially when they perform well on the global stage, while they pay attention to major accidents and events that occur both domestically and internationally. The last noteworthy interest was the Korean people’s attention toward Teacher’s Day. This article can be only a surface-level discussion, yet it can perform as a good start to understanding the culture and tendencies of another market.