In a year dominated by economic gloom, it is of little surprise that "recession" was the most popular search term on Warc among creative, media and research agencies in 2009.

This subject attracted nearly two-and-a-half times as many queries as its nearest rival, social media, the rise of which reflected heightened levels of interest in making the best use of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Close behind was luxury, a category facing a tough time in the current climate, which just edged out product placement into fourth, followed by sponsorship and word of mouth.

In terms of sector and product-led searches, insurance and beer both made the top ten, followed by automotive and retail among the top 20.

Ikea was the most frequently input brand-focused search – and the only one in the top ten – although Dove, and its owner, Unilever, registered among the 20 most widely-used terms.

In another sign of the times, the sole country-specific search term to make the top ten was China, some way ahead of India, in 25th place.

Data sourced from Warc