Conspiracy theories are one of those conversation-starting topics that people love to share. Throughout the pandemic, lots of conspiracy theories around COVID-19 have dominated the news and social media threads, so we were intrigued to find out what theories are the most believed in - both old and new!

After surveying 3,000 members of the British public, we can reveal that the most commonly believed conspiracy theory in the UK is that 'COVID-19 is a man-made virus created to lower the earth's population', with almost two fifths (38%) confirming that they believe the hypothesis.

We also asked about conspiracy theories in general, and discovered eight in ten (81%) people believe in a conspiracy theory of some kind. That would explain why our conspiracy book category is one of the most popular genres amongst our customers! However, not all of us are happy to share this - in fact, a fifth (20%) of Brits are embarrassed about their theory beliefs, with a further half (48%) stating they haven't shared their beliefs with friends or family as a result.

20 most believed conspiracy theories

Unsplash/Chris Nguyen

The top 20 most believed conspiracy theories and the percentage of Brits that believe in them are:

  1. 1. COVID-19 was made in a lab to lower the earth's population - 38%
  2. 2. Trump is being blackmailed by Russia - 34%
  3. 3. UFO and alien sightings have been seen in Area 51 - 29%
  4. 4. There is a link between 5G and COVID-19 - 28%
  5. 5. Jeffery Epstein was murdered - 23%
  6. 6. COVID-19 is a cover so Bill Gates can implant trackable microchips in people - 19%
  7. 7. The moon landings were faked - 17%
  8. 8. The Loch Ness monster is real - 16%
  9. 9. Vaccines cause autism -14%
  10. 10. Climate change is a hoax - 14%
  11. 11. 9/11 was an 'inside job' - 11%
  12. 12. Reptilian royalty - 10%
  13. 13. Chemtrails are real - 9%
  14. 14. Elvis didn't die in 1977 and lived for years after - 7%
  15. 15. Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike - 7%
  16. 16. The CIA assassinated JFK - 6%
  17. 17. The earth is flat - 5%
  18. 18. The Illuminati control the world - 5%
  19. 19. The earth is hollow - 1%
  20. 20. The Rapture - 1%
    (An end of the world scenario where all Christians who are alive and deceased will rise into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air)

Other conspiracy theories shared in the survey which did not make the top 20 list include that the moon is not real, the Queen is a cannibal and that dinosaurs never existed.

Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy, said,

"We hear conspiracy theories discussed everywhere, from fables to celebrity rumours. Since the start of the pandemic a few theories have gained widespread traction and as such we were intrigued to see just how many people believe in a conspiracy theory, and what the most popular ones are.

"It was also interesting to discover just how many people believe in a conspiracy theory of some kind, but it wasn't surprising at this current time, to see that the 'COVID-19 is man-made' theory top the list."