TrendWatch December 2021

TrendWatch is a regular analysis of 10 interesting long-term trends, based on multiple data sources used within SISTRIX tools. TrendWatch is available, in full, via the newsletter link below and is researched and written by data-journalist, Nicole Scott. Take it away Nicole…

Hi everyone, and thanks for joining me on this, the first ever TrendWatch, and the start of a new series that I’m excited to be part of. Here’s my analysis for December 2021.


Keyword trend for “axolotl” (UK) over 13 months

Axolotls are a member of the Salamander family, known for their goofy smile and gills. They’re also the pet of the quirky teenager, having gained a recent surge in interest thanks to Minecraft. 

Minecraft is an adventure game with limitless possibilities to build, mine, battle, and explore the ever-changing Minecraft landscape. In 2021 it had 140 million active users, with 200 million copies sold that year. These numbers pale in comparison to the amount of Chinese-language copies that have been sold since its launch in 2017: 400 million.

On 17 December 2020 Minecraft announced on their blog that they were going to add the character to their next update. Two spikes can be seen in axolotl’s interest at this time. On 8 June 2021 the caves and cliffs update went live, and interest in the amphibian skyrocketed. 

Axolotls are native to two lakes in Mexico, but habitat destruction, pollution, and the arrival of an invasive species of predatory fish means they’re on the brink of extinction in the wild. It is nice to see Minecraft including endangered species, first they added the panda, encouraging a new generation’s interest in conservation. 

Meatloaf Recipe (US)

Keyword trend for “meatloaf recipe” (US) over 13 months

Move over banana bread, meatloaf is the new “it” recipe to make at home. Banana bread was a lockdown obsession, after the world discovered that making sourdough was generally not advisable for beginners. Now everyone who invested in bread tins is looking for new ways to use that loaf pan taking up valuable shelf space! Like banana bread, meatloaf is forgiving of mistakes, where even the most inexperienced cook can make something that is still edible. One possible reason meatloaf isn’t trending on social media in the same way banana bread did, is because cooking with meat isn’t viewed as being socially conscious as using old bananas.


Keyword trend for “nft” (UK) over 13 months

An NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, has just been named the word of the year for 2021. An NFT is “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record the ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible”. In 2021 headlines were made  when the auction house Christie’s listed Beeple’s digital artwork Everydays: the First 5000 Days. It sold for $69 million, and the following week a popular meme Nyan Cat from 2011 sold for $600,000. Following the Christie’s sale, a series of memes went on sale, including “Disaster Girl”, causing a sustained peak in interest. This was boosted again when the world wide web was sold by founder Tim Bernard Lee for $5.4 million. 

NFTs, and interest in them, isn’t going anywhere, as blockbuster movies like Spiderman will offer NFT’s to those who pre-order tickets to the film. More and more people will continue to research the word.  

Beyond the hype, the gaming world’s acceptance of NFTs as a way to trade digital goods has meaningful consequences for creators. Currently, digital artists don’t get a cut when an artwork is sold on, and NFTs are perfectly poised to fill a void in the current digital landscape. Considering how non-descriptive the name is, we can expect people to search for it more than once. I know I have!