Traditionally, moving abroad has always been seen as a big decision that requires months of careful consideration, but the findings from our latest whitepaper suggest that there has been a big shift in people’s motivations for starting a new life overseas and it turns out social media is playing a more important role than ever before.

We looked at moving data from over 350,000 moving enquiries from April 2016 to April 2017 and found that there had been an increase in moves to specific destinations that had trended on social media for everything from politics to TV, and the countries that have benefited most from going are Canada and Iceland.

The effect of Trudeau

Canada frequently hit the headlines in 2016 for its liberal approach to key foreign policy issues. MoveHub’s data revealed that Canada was the fifth most popular destination in the world to move to and UK searches for moves to Canada increased by 308% between 2016- 2017.

The ‘Trudeau Effect’, as it was dubbed, caused a flurry of enquiries for moving there, with notable spikes coming every time Trudeau trended on Twitter or had a positive high profile media engagement. In November 2016 when Trudeau celebrated a year in office, MoveHub’s search enquiries for moves to Canada doubled. Another peak in popularity came in February 2017 which correlated with Trudeau’s first meeting of Donald Trump and the twitter frenzy about Ivanka Trump swooning over the Canadian Prime Minister.

The fantasy show following

Another stand out finding was that the immense popularity of fantasy TV series, Game of Thrones, has meant Iceland has gained much attention as a potential moving destination. The number of enquiries to move to Iceland increased by 50%, while the number of moves increased from 2,400 in 2015/16 to 3,600 in 2016/17.

In the same week that Game of Throne’s highest-rated episode ever ‘Battle of the Bastards’ aired, searches for ‘Iceland’, where much of the programme is filmed, saw an increase of 82% in comparison to the previous month (May 2016). These statistics show just how influential popular culture can be on international relocation trends.

People will always want to explore new places and from this research we can see that many are turning to viral social trends about specific cultures and customs to help them make that decision.