Which is the Bigger Pageant: Miss Universe or Miss World?

For years there has been a debate on which is the bigger pageant between the UK-based Miss World and the US-owned Miss Universe. This blogpost will try to answer that age-old question…
How did the rivalry start? Well it was in the early 50’s that started it all. Rumor has it that the first Miss World pageant was held as a response to rumors that there was a move to revive the old defunct Miss Universe from the late 20’s/ early 30’s. So how do we quantify which is the bigger pageant? By looking at data of course!

Google Analytics paints a very clear picture on which pageant is most searched online. With data going as far back in 2004, we can gauge how the two pageant has performed in terms of popular searches.
Interest Over Time (the popularity of that term over a specified time range) shows us that since 2004, the Miss Universe pageant has dominated search popularity, with Miss World falling behind. The only time that MW has come close to the popularity that the MU pageant is enjoying is in 2013, when Megan Young won the crown in Bali, Indonesia. In the year of Megan’s reign, the Miss world enjoyed online popularity boosted by Filipino pageant fans. However that went on a decline specially in 2015 when Ariadna Gutierrez of Colombia was mistakenly named winner. Pia Wurtzbach  enjoyed one of the most talked about reign with searches for “Miss Universe 2015” outperforming all other editions to date. It also helped that her popularity among Pinoy pageant fans kept much of the spotlight on her reign. The MU sustained its lead in the 2016 edition when the pageant was held in the Philippines.
Originally the Miss World pageant was named Festival Bikini contest with 16 candidates (11 of which were from Great Britain) participating. It was only the press that branded it as Miss World and the name has stuck and was adapted ever since. A year after the first Miss World pageant took place, the Miss Universe was born in Long Beach, California and it attracted 30 candidates on its initial outing.

In terms of pageant participation, the Miss World pageant has the slight advantage with having an average of 72. 17∼ 72 candidates since its inception. The Miss Universe pageant on the other hand has an average of 68.52 ∼69 candidates. We must note here that the Miss Universe pageant has a higher average franchise fee than Miss World, hence the higher number of countries being able to afford the relatively cheaper MW franchise fee.
The most number of Miss World participants was in 2013 with 127 candidates joining. Their least number of participants was in 1952 with only 11 ladies joining. As for the Miss Universe pageant their least number of candidates was in 1953 with 26 countries joining. They had the most number of contestants in 2018 when the pageant was held in Bangkok, Thailand for the 3rd time with 94 entrants.

Going back to the data from Google Analytics, let’s talk about the search volume. Search Volume is simply the amount or quantity of searches that occur for a particular keyword or term. Based on “high volume search” regions the countries that had the most queries on the MU pageant were: Puerto Rico, Colombia, Slovakia (Slovak Rep), United States and the Philippines. For MW searches, the countries that topped the list were: Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Looking at the search per region, inclusive of “low volume search” regions, the pageant that seems to have the biggest slice of the pie is still the Miss Universe pageant. Europe and Asia is a “blue sea” market with both pageants seemingly having equal slice of the pie. Africa leans heavily towards the Miss World pageant while the Miss Universe pageant is basically the number one in North & South America and majority of the Caribbean.
Interest per region shows that in terms of countries, the Miss World pageant has seemingly have a bigger number of countries that have queried the term. If you could also notice that the most searched years of the pageant were years when a Filipina won the crown. Miss World 2013 Megan Young and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach has surely boosted each of their respective pageant’s interest.

In conclusion, how you interpret the question “which is the bigger pageant” may vary based on your personal biases. However, historical data and Google Analytics don’t lie…

3 thoughts on “Which is the Bigger Pageant: Miss Universe or Miss World?”

  1. Can you tell me what pageant that was. Unable to find it. I recall trying to call the number listed on the TV.
    However, I kept getting a busy signal. Miss Mexico was beautiful but didn’t win

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  2. There was a pageant that I saw over 30 years ago. It was Miss World, or Universe or International. It was between 1979 to 1982. But, you had to call to pick the winner. It was between Miss Mexico and GreatBrit

    Like

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