Brits have loved 2016 – and here are the emoji to prove it

The UK may have experienced ups and downs in the past year but Brits were determined to stay positive, at least when it came to messaging their friends.

SwiftKey, the smartphone keyboard app, has revealed the 10 most-used emojis in the UK in 2016, and the list is dominated by happy faces.

The British company studied 400 million pieces of emoji data and found that “face with tears of joy” was by far the most popular. It was the second year in a row that the emoji had topped SwiftKey’s list and was also named the “word of the year” in 2015 by Oxford University Press.


The “face with tears of joy” emoji was followed in SwiftKey’s 2016 list by “face blowing a kiss” and “love heart”. Other emojis to make the top 10 included “heart eyes” and “thumbs up”. The top six emojis make up 50% of all emoji use in 2015 and 2016, SwiftKey added.

emoji-uk-the-brexit-factor-hrNine of the top 10 most-used emojis were positive, with only “loudly crying face” in ninth spoiling the happy mood.

During its research, SwiftKey also found that use of “grimacing face” and “expressionless face” doubled in the UK between 2015 and 2016, while the use of “kiss”, “clapping hands” and “fist bump” halved.

Looking down the list, the “beer in a pint glass” emoji didn’t even make the top 50, despite Brits’ love of pubs, while the aubergine emoji – a favourite of millennials and foodies – barely cracked the top 150.

SwiftKey also looked at individual UK cities and discovered the emoji that most represents those places based on their usage. While the company believe the “blue heart” emoji in Leeds could be linked tot he city’s football team, they were left scratching their heads as to why Bristol loves the watermelon emoji and why Edinburgh was represented by a “hear no evil” emoji.

When it came to Brexit, SwiftKey found that 10 particular emoji were used three times as often as other symbols, including “angry face”, “red face” and “worried face”.

It’s been a busy year for SwiftKey, which was bought by Microsoft in February. Using neural networks, SwiftKey released a system that is better at suggesting words as people type, saving time and making easier for people to connect with each other. It also unveiled new features that makes it easier for people to send text messages in different languages.