Retail therapy relieves lockdown blues
Have you been buying more stuff during the lockdown?
Retail therapy appears to have thrived during the past few months, with one in five of us admitting to shopping to make lockdown life at home more bearable.
The new research from insurer Admiral found that we spent an average of £792 on a range of purchases, from craft equipment to garden furniture, technology to toys.
Clothes were the most popular category of purchase.
Despite a fall in income for some households during the Covid-19 pandemic, average spending only fell by 9% for the two months after the lockdown started, when compared to the previous two months.
One in five of those surveyed said they were spending more on themselves and their homes, saying it helped to make their home more comfortable, provided something to fill the time, or stopped them from being bored.
Clothes, garden furniture and make-up were the most popular lockdown purchases.
Also in the top five most popular purchases was office equipment, as more of us work from home.
Most consumer groups tightened their belts during the pandemic, but not everyone cut back on their expenditure.
Students spent an average of 54% more during the lockdown, with part-time workers spending an average of 5% more.
People living in Wales cut back on spending the most, choosing to spend 33% less during the lockdown.
On average, men have spent 13% less during the lockdown, whilst women only reduced their shopping bill by 5% on average.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they felt worried about spending too much money during the lockdown.
More full-time employees were worried about spending too much, compared with those on furlough.
Despite making purchases on a raft of new items, Admiral found over a third said they had not updated their home insurance to cover their new purchases.
Admiral reported an increase in claims for accidental damage during the lockdown, with 15% more accidental damage claims than usual during April and May, no doubt reflecting the fact we were spending more time at home.
Noel Summerfield, head of home insurance at Admiral, said:
We’ve all relied on different things to get us through the challenge of lockdown, and as well as shopping for essentials we’ve been spending to improve the comfort of our time in confinement and to enhance our outdoor spaces.
Our research has highlighted what items we’ve valued the most as our freedom to go outside has been restricted. Tech items have topped the list, which considering how vital they are keeping us connected to loved ones we can no longer visit, is no big surprise.
When it comes to items we’re spending more on, gardening equipment and garden furniture have both seen an increase. I’m sure the wonderful weather most of us enjoyed in May contributed to this.
Lockdown or not, it’s essential that consumers protect themselves by having the right contents cover in place. We’ve had around 15% more accidental damage claims for April and May this year than the same months last year.
If you’ve bought any new items for your home, for example new tech, you should make sure they’re covered on your home insurance. This might mean you have to increase the total value of your contents, or add them as specified items. In the event of theft, or an accident where a claim needs to be made, being underinsured could make a tough situation even worse, and could make it harder to replace the things you need for your home.