The world’s favourite Disney characters

Which Disney characters are people around the world Googling the most?

Eliza Buglar

Oct 15, 2021

There’s no denying that the Walt Disney Company has been a pioneer of cinema and animation for decades, having created many iconic and beloved characters over time. Not to mention the six resorts located across the world, including the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, which this year celebrates 50 years since its opening.

Disney’s acquisitions are also as well known as its own productions, with the likes of Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and Pixar Animation Studios all joining the ranks over the years.

With so many films, characters and franchises now under their belt, we wondered which of Disney’s extensive list of characters is the most searched on Google in 120 countries around the world.

To keep things simple, we’ve stuck to just five franchises: Disney Princesses, Marvel superheroes, Star Wars, Pixar and Mickey Mouse characters. We’ve also stuck to just the movies in each category, so don’t go expecting an appearance from everyone’s favourite baby green alien in the Star Wars data. We plugged a list of characters from these categories into a search volume program to see which ones are the most searched in each country. Read more about our methodology below.

Do you agree with your country’s favourite character?

The most searched Star Wars characters around the world

It’s not difficult to discern which Star Wars character is everyone’s favourite; the search term ‘Darth Vader’ absolutely dominated around the world, snapping up a total of 95 out of 120 countries. No other character came close to balancing the Force; the term ‘Jyn Erso’ came in second with just eleven country wins.

Of course, this isn’t taking into account the characters from the various Star Wars TV series. If we had included the search term ‘baby Yoda’ in our data, for instance, the results could’ve been very different. Just out of interest, we decided to compare the global search volumes of the film characters we included to those of the little green alien that took the world by storm – who consequently smashed into first place with the most convincing win we saw in our data. The term ‘baby Yoda’ is sitting at a comfortable 3,350,000 searches per month (as of May 2021), which is more than double the search volume of the term ‘Kylo Ren’ in second place (1,400,000 searches per month).

When we organised the characters according to their era (prequels, originals and sequels, with the Rogue One crew being classified as sequels), the results showed that not a single prequel character won any countries – a vindication perhaps for those fans that disowned the prequels, but a blow for those of us who actually like them. With the massive volume of searches for the term ‘Darth Vader’ behind them, the originals achieved the most country wins, with an original character taking out the top searched title in 117 countries.

The most searched Star Wars characters: Light vs Dark

We also decided to break down the Star Wars results by Light vs Dark Side, and what we found was fascinating! Despite 24 of the 35 Star Wars characters we looked at belonging to the Light, the Dark Side won a total of 101 countries, largely thanks to the search term ‘Darth Vader’. In fact, the terms ‘Darth Vader’ and ‘Kylo Ren’ were the only two Dark Side characters to win any country’s most searched title, but the sheer volume behind the OG Star Wars villain gave the Dark Side the edge over the others.

Hopefully, this doesn’t mean that the world is falling to the Dark Side!

The most searched Disney Princesses around the world

The search term ‘Moana’ came out on top in more than 50 countries, making this Disney Princess the most searched in the world. Second place goes to the search term ‘Cinderella’, which took out 20 countries.

The most extraordinary thing to come out of our Princess data, though, was the five-way tie in Finland – the search terms ‘Cinderella’, ‘Ariel’, ‘Pocahontas’, ‘Rapunzel’ and ‘Elsa’ all nabbed the top spot in the Nordic country!

We also decided to organise the Princesses by the era they’re from:

  • ‘early’ Princesses (those from the movies Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty)
  • ‘90s’ Princesses (from the years 1989-1999, including movies like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast)
  • ‘new’ Princesses (princesses in movies from the 2000s/2010s, like Tangled and Frozen).

This could help us see which era has the more popular characters (in terms of search volume). It turns out that the new Princesses have the upper edge over their predecessors, with the early Princesses coming in second. The 90s Princesses trailed behind all the rest – a big blow to those of us who grew up with those characters. In fact, the new Princesses won more than three times the number of countries that the 90s ones did.

The most searched Marvel superheroes around the world

The overwhelming favourite worldwide is the web-swinging hero, with the search term ‘Spider-Man’ dominating 77 countries. Trailing behind in second place is the term ‘Thanos’, which took the title of most searched in 37 countries. It’s a battle of good versus evil for the title of most searched character in the Marvel arena!

Outside of those two, though, not many superheroes get a look in. The search terms ‘Black Panther’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor’, ‘Hulk’ and ‘Vision’ nabbed only a small handful of countries each.

The most searched Pixar characters around the world

As Disney’s then-competitor and now-subsidiary, Pixar has also produced its fair share of memorable films and beloved characters. The search term ‘WALL-E’ had the highest volume in 55 countries, making the rusty, romantic robot the most searched Pixar character.

It was very close between the second and third most searched Pixar characters; it came down to just one country between the search terms ‘Mike Wazowski’ and ‘Nemo’, with 27 and 26 countries respectively.

The most searched Mickey Mouse characters around the world

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the most searched Mickey Mouse character is the big man – or rather mouse – himself; the term ‘Mickey Mouse’ is the most searched in 114 countries around the world. The remaining countries were won by the search terms ‘Minnie Mouse’, ‘Goofy’ and ‘Donald Duck’.

Methodology

1. Choosing characters

  • We pulled the list of official Disney Princesses from Wikipedia and added Elsa because of the popularity of the character
  • We pulled a list of major Marvel Cinematic Universe characters (from the films only) from Wikipedia and used only their superhero names (e.g. ‘Iron Man’ instead of ‘Tony Stark’)
  • We pulled a list of major Star Wars characters (from the films only) from Wikipedia. In instances where characters are known by multiple names, we used the names with the highest global search volume (e.g. ‘Leia Organa’ vs ‘Princess Leia’ – ‘Princess Leia’ has more search volume, so that was the name included)
  • We pulled a list of major Pixar characters from Wikipedia. We eliminated those with small search volumes (e.g. ‘Flik’ from A Bug’s Life), generic names (e.g. ‘Russel’ from Up) or names with multiple meanings (e.g. Marlin from Finding Nemo)
  • We pulled a list of major ‘Mickey Mouse universe’ characters, eliminating those with small global search volumes.

2. Gathering search volume data

  • Using Semrush, we gathered the search volumes for each character (108 in total) in each of 120 countries in the program’s search volume database.
  • Semrush’s search volumes are current for May 2021 and are an average of the previous 12 months.

3. Sorting and normalising data

  • Using spreadsheet formulas, we identified which characters were the most searched in each country and checked Google Trends for search volume spikes that might’ve skewed the results. A ‘spike’ was defined as a jump of more than 50% in a month compared to the months on either side of it.
  • For each of these spikes, we checked news articles from the month in question to ascertain what caused them. If the spikes were caused by events other than general interest in the character (e.g. movie or series releases and announcements), we ‘normalised’ the spike to remove it from the data (see next point).
  • We used spreadsheet formulas to calculate the difference between the ‘hype’ and standard months to produce a percentage that the search results for the character would need to be reduced by, thereby enabling us to surface actual interest in the character divorced from event hype.
  • Search volume spikes for Star Wars characters that occurred in May 2020 and 2021 were not normalised. This is because 4 May is seen as ‘Star Wars Day’ and jumps in search volume can reasonably be attributed to general interest in characters (i.e. people looking up their favourite character during Star Wars month).

Sources

Semrush – Keyword Overview. Accessed 17-24 May 2021.
Google Trends. Accessed (through Keywords Everywhere) 17-24 May 2021.
Wikipedia – List of Star Wars characters. Last updated 1 June 2021. Accessed 17 May 2021.
Wikipedia – Droid (Star Wars). Last updated 23 May 2021. Accessed 17 May 2021.
Wikipedia – Disney Princess. Last updated 1 June 2021. Accessed 13 May 2021.
Wikipedia – Characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Last updated 1 June 2021. Accessed 17 May 2021.
Wikipedia – List of Pixar characters. Last updated 25 May 2021. Accessed 17 May 2021.
Wikipedia – Mickey Mouse universe. Last updated 18 May 2021. Accessed 13 May 2021.

Download the Excel data spreadsheet

This content is not endorsed or sponsored by the Walt Disney Company and Compare the Market has no affiliation with The Walt Disney Company.

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