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Lockdown online shopping spree – what people are buying

If you are looking to tap into the online shopping spree UK consumers are in the midst of during lockdown and beyond, then you need to know what they are after. While shopping habits have shifted dramatically in recent months, so too has what people buy.

New research by New research from Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that UK adults have spent an average of £771.34 each on dispensable items in recent months. This comes as an increasing number of retailers launch innovative ‘insperience’ products and services designed specifically to be used at home during the months of lockdown.

Lockdown purchases – the most common to most bizarre

Takeaway food and drink (24%) was the most popular purchase made during lockdown, followed by summer wardrobe pieces (19%), outdoor plants and flowers (16%), baking ingredients (15%) and spirits (13%).

Some of the more bizarre items bought included an inflatable pub, a piece of the moon, a Penny Farthing and an antique diving suit.

The emergence of consumer clusters

When it came to choosing how to make the most fun out of time spent at home, clear consumer clusters can be seen:

  • Home Hustlers – A third of Brits (33%) spent £508 each on smartening up homes and gardens. 
  • Clothing Collectors – 36% of UK adults bought clothing, beauty and accessories, with this figure jumping to 47% for women, with an average spend of £384.70 per person.
  • Proactive Parents  – 14% of those questioned invested £623.60 per person on entertaining or home-schooling their children.
  • Fitness Fanatics – 13% of consumers decided to fight the flab during lockdown, parting with £682 on average to buy sports and outdoor gear. Men spent almost triple the amount than women on sports clothing and equipment, paying out an average of £941.40 compared to £324.00.
  • Pet Purchasers – While only a small number (five%) invested in a pet, they spent a sizeable amount doing so (£635.20).

Lockdown Leftovers

Fortunately, there seems to be little ‘buyer’s remorse’ felt across the UK. Eight in 10 consumers (80%) plan to keep all the items they invested in, with only 6% feeling as though they had wasted money. Almost half of respondents (47%) said that all the things they bought are useful. 

However, while the majority of people are wanting to hold onto their at-home hoard, some want to clear out their lockdown leftovers. One in five consumers (20%) say they are planning to give away at least one of the items they bought during lockdown to charity. With an average estimated value of £65.90 per donation, Brits are on track to give £543 million worth of goods** to charity over the coming months. 

A third (33%) of those donating say it’s time to pass on their items for someone else to enjoy, while a quarter (25%) believe what they purchased is taking too much space, followed by one in five (21%) who are now bored with what they bought.

Kirsty Morris, Managing Director for Account Development at Barclaycard Payments, comments: “Being at home for such an extended period of time meant that Brits became imaginative with how they spent their money. Whether it was to keep themselves or their families entertained, people have emerged from lockdown with an impressive array of quarantine buys.”

She adds: “From little luxuries to big investments, the nation sought out the things that would bring them happiness and provide entertainment at home. A trend recognised by an increasing number of retailers seeking to attract customers with fun ‘insperience’ services and products during the months of lockdown. Things that could have been left redundant as lockdown eased, have instead have made their way up the ranks to be deemed household must-haves that people didn’t know they needed. Many of the items bought have also encouraged people to take up new hobbies, but perhaps more importantly, were successful in making such an unusual period, that little bit more enjoyable.”

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