From Punting to Prostitutes

The UK & Ireland’s Cost Obsessions Revealed

If ‘you are what you Google’, what do popular searches reveal about the things people really want to spend their money on in the UK and Ireland?

Forget the price of a loaf of bread or how much you have to pay for a pint of milk, we’ve uncovered the real cost-of-living concerns of people from Exeter to Edinburgh.

The method was simple. By typing ‘how much does * cost’, ‘how much do * cost’ or a similar price enquiry for each location, we put together a list of the predictions that filled the blank. Google’s autocomplete feature is based on an algorithm reflecting, among other factors, the number of times a term has been searched for in the past.

Google search autocomplete

Consuming passions: Uncovering cost obsessions in the North

Alongside typical outgoings like ‘parking’ and ‘council tax’, the results provided an amusing and somewhat surprising overview of the UK’s cost obsessions.

Cosmetic procedures are a common Google trend across the UK, with liposuction popular in Perthshire and Botox in Essex, Norwich, Nottingham and Glasgow. In Liverpool, locals appear to have swapped over-plucked Scouse Brows for self-help with Hypnotherapy ranking high.

UK cost obsessions map

Mapping our mores: There’s more to life in the UK than house prices and the cost of milk

Elsewhere, beer in Edinburgh and Cardiff and the cost of a night out in Newcastle are a firm priority. Some of the results come as no surprise, like punting in Oxford and food in London. Yet, others break their clichés entirely. Tobogganing in Ipswich, anyone?

Northern frights

More sinister prompts include weed in Manchester, prostitutes in Sheffield and funerals in Galway. But perhaps most controversial was the result of abortion in Belfast, where the procedure is currently illegal.

Luckily, not every result read like a checklist for a CSI script. Love is in the air with the cost of a marriage licence skyrocketing in multiple locations. Plus, there are plenty of light-hearted searches, such as a dropped kerb in Birmingham and ice skating in Grimsby.

After all, who would have thought that Britain was a nation of bowling enthusiasts?

What are people searching for near you?

Explore the full list of the UK’s cost obsessions – click the table headers to sort the columns.

City / TownObsession
AberdeenPersonal trainer
AylesburySwimming
AyrSkip hire
BangorCinema
BangorSwimming
BasingstokeRent a shop
BelfastAbortion
BeverleyCouncil tax
BirminghamDropped kerb
BournemouthBeach hut
BridgendTo get married
BrightonSeason ticket
CaerphillyCastle entry
CambridgePunting
CanterburyGet married
CardiffPint of beer
CarlisleSpeed awareness course
ChelmsfordIce skating
ChesterZoo
ChichesterBus ticket
Colwyn BaySwimming
CorkCrèche
CuparCouncil rent
DeesideGo Karting
DerryBus to Belfast
DonegalDiesel
DublinBalayage Hair
DundeeChildminder
DurhamMarriage
EdinburghPint of beer
ElginWater
ExeterBowling
GalwayFuneral
GlasgowBotox
GloucesterPlanning permission
GrimsbyIce skating
HaddingtonPetrol to Edinburgh
HerefordBus ticket
HolyheadFerry
HullIVF
InvernessRollerbowl
IpswichTobogganing
Isle of WightFerry
KilkennyAlcohol
LeicesterSkip hire
LimerickDriving lessons
LisburnLaser quest
LiverpoolHypnotherapy
LondonFood
ManchesterWeed
MargateDreamland
MiddlesbroughSeason Ticket
MorpethParking
NewcastleNight out
NewportCouncil tax
NorthamptonBowling
NorwichBotox
NottinghamBotox
OakhamSchool
OrkneyKirkwall
OxfordPunting
PerthLiposuction
PlymouthIVF
RenfrewGym membership
RothesayFerry ticket
SalisburyTo get married
ScunthorpeCBT Test
SheffieldProstitute
SkegnessLaser Quest
St AlbansLand
St David’sParking
StirlingTo get married
StonehavenPetrol to Aberdeen
SwanseaBowling
TauntonCouncil tax
TorquayQuasar
TruroCinema
WarwickCastle
WokingRent
YorkWaterworld

How does your hometown match up? Let us know. Tweet us @TotallyMoney with #UKCostObsessions

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