Online tea searches rise in the UK during the lockdown

Move over Tetley, Yorkshire Tea is the UK’s most popular tea! Well, at least in terms of online searches. With stay-at-home directives taking effect in March in many cities around the world, visits to brick ‘n mortar stores, naturally, decreased while online purchases increased. One of the most popular items searched online in the United Kingdom during the lockdown, was tea.

In a newly released study, Harvey Water Softeners took the top 50 largest cities (by population) across the UK, and reviewed the amount of people who searched for tea on Google per month for 20 types of popular tea over the last two months, to see which cities have been drinking which tea the most during lockdown. The research revealed that with more than 40,500 average monthly searches during this period, Yorkshire Tea took the top spot. According to the findings, searches for Yorkshire Tea increased considerably during lockdown, with just 14,000 searches for Yorkshire Tea across the whole of the UK pre-Covid-19.

The second most searched tea was “green tea” – apparently there was no specific brand search, just a general search for green tea – which had an average of 27,100 searches per month. PG Tips came in third with 14,800 searches, followed by Pukka Tea, Tetley Tea and Twinings Tea all with 12,100 searches. Rounding out the top 15 tea searches in the UK, per Harvey Water Softener’s findings, are:

  • White tea: 8,100
  • Earl Grey: 6,600
  • Clipper Tea: 6,600
  • Darjeeling: 6,600
  • Whittard Tea: 5,400
  • Turkish tea: 4,400
  • Masala Chai: 3,600
  • Assam tea: 3,600
  • Typhoo Tea: 2,900

The leading brand may have changed, but one fact remains — black tea still reigns supreme in the UK. Although, green tea is definitely gaining interest among British consumers as it was the second favorite searched tea, landing in the top three searches in every city in the UK per Harvey’s findings.

The Surrey, England-based company’s research revealed that Yorkshire Tea hit the top spot for every single Yorkshire town and city. Yorkshire Gold, a tea brewed specifically for hard water, appeared in the top three spots for both the cities of Poole and Swansea. According Harvey, these areas are well known for having hard water.

Newcastle is the only place in the UK where Earl Grey landed in the top three spots, while Bristol is the only city in the UK without green tea or Yorkshire Tea as their top tea, with the Pukka brand being their top searched tea during lockdown. (Pukka Teas are more premium-priced fruit and herbal teas that also include organic and wellness tea lines.)

Scotland and Northern Ireland consumers’ tastes seem to differ from consumers in England and Wales, with Tetley Tea hitting their top three overall.

Although Harvey Water Softener’s findings offer insight into the purchasing decisions being made through search data on the favourite brands of tea, they do not actually report the “most purchased teas” online, just the “most searched teas.” So, while Yorkshire Tea might have the top spot among online tea searches, it might not necessarily be the most purchased tea in the UK — online or offline.

The family-run manufacturer of water treatment products did note that no matter what tea consumers prefer, tea lovers across the UK will want to avoid water with a higher proportion of certain minerals, such as calcium, as these minerals could negatively impact the quality of the taste of the tea, as well as building limescale on kettles.

The company further explained that calcium, in particular, has been known to react with the flavonoids in tea, creating a film that floats around on the surface of a cup of tea. According to Harvey Water Softeners, “many people find that hard water causes a limescale build-up in your kettle, making it a pain to use, flakes of limescale in your tea and the kettle becomes less efficient and costs more in energy bills over time.”

And that’s the tea — enjoy your favourite cuppa!

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