Inspired by the wheel of hunger visualisation from the other week I started to look into food trends around the world with the ultimate aim of making a “World food trends” visual in the near future.

Along the way I stumbled across a beautiful demonstration of how Google insights for search can show a trend sweeping the globe.

The video below shows searches for cupcakes from 2004 to the present day (The darker blue the country gets, the more popular cupcakes searches are).  I like to think you could probably substitute ‘cupcake’ for ‘American fad’.

And this is what happened where it all started, in America.  Note, California starts the trend swiftly followed by those North East regions.

And here is the global search demand for cupcakes mapped out since 2004.  Note all of the peaks occurring in the early years in October (Halloween?) and now we have peaks in February and March too.

Global searches for cupcakes since 2004

Cupcake sites I came across during my research

10 thoughts on “Why are cupcakes so popular?

  1. Pingback: Quora
  2. In trying to find an answer of my own to the question ‘why are cupcakes so popular?’, I tracked searches for cupcakes with some of the attributes they are most associated with: pretty, small, cute, pink, glittery, homemade etc. The search term that most closely tracks ‘cupcakes’ is ‘cute’.

    See the chart here: http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=%20cupcakes%2Ccute&cmpt=q

    So in our increasingly harsh and unforgiving world, maybe cupcakes have tapped into our desire for intimacy and smallness, something that’s just for us – a little bit of sweetness and colour and a return to a childhood when to be cute meant to be carefree.

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