Once again, I’ve delved into Google’s archives to take an askance look at meaningless correlations in the charity sector.
This time it’s searches for the term ‘charity’ vs ‘weight loss’ in the UK over the last 12 months:
The most striking thing about this graph is obviously the huge variation in both search terms in the first quarter. Which, as you’ve no doubt guessed, falls exactly on December 25th.
Now the frequency with which people search for weight loss is probably pretty self-explanatory. People’s interest falls off throughout December as they head out to enjoy some festive cheer but then the regret starts to kick in slowly around Christmas eve and then BANG. Straight after lunch on Xmas day people are straight on their new iPads to look for ways to shed the excess lbs.
What is slightly more interesting is that people’s interest in searching for charity drops drastically in the week or so before Xmas with a low reached on December 25th. It’s not a cheap holiday so maybe people are pulling in the purse strings to keep family and friends happy.
But then it quickly rises (almost as fast as weight loss) in search popularity to reach a (almost) record high for the year in early Jan, the time of year when you think people’s budgets would be most stretched, why is anyone’s guess.
There seems to be rough correlation between the two at various other points in the year but, for me, the second most striking is the dip on February 25th. A date only notable, as far as I can tell, as being the birthday of Julio Iglesias.
As a quick addendum, where are the various parts of the UK organised into who searches more for charity (blue) over weight loss (red):
Interestingly the only other search that I ran that resulted in this order of countries was by sheep population, and I tried everything. Why this might be is a question perhaps best answered in the next edition of Correlation Corner.