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Lockdown One year on

UK shoppers see price hikes on most popular products

Milk & Honey PR

29 March, 2021

This article is written by PriceSpy and Milk & Honey PR. No one else has influenced the content of it. There are no paid links or other types of advertising collaborations.

With 23rd March 2021 marking a year since the official start of lockdown in the UK, we’ve taken a look at UK shopping habits over the past year. 

The most popular products on a monthly basis tell an interesting story. From webcams as we set up to work from home in March, to taking our hair cuts into our own hands in May, to getting back out on to the golf course in July, some of the key lockdown trends are played out through our purchases. 

And retailers caught on fast to these changes in buying habits. On average, prices of popular lockdown products were up by £21. In line with the hype around lockdown baking – sourdough and banana bread anyone? – bread makers saw an overall price increase of £32. 

With gyms closed, health and fitness equipment proved the big winner over the last year in terms of popularity, with increases seen across many items. Kettlebells proved the most popular overall, with a 2573% increase in popularity and a £7 average price increase since lockdown began on the 23rd of March. Other popular items included weight plates and treadmills, showing increases in popularity of 2096% and 1130% respectively.   

Stay-at-home Brits looked to replicate the pub experience at home, seeing interest in beer dispensers over the last year increase by 615%, with products on average £43 more expensive. Cookware sets also proved 536% more popular, as we cooked up a storm in our kitchens. Similarly alfresco dining has seen an uptick, with patio heater popularity going up by a huge 3500% and prices by £20.  

Of course, where there are winners, there are losers and these too are largely reflective of our sudden shift in lifestyle. With the Great British public encouraged to stay home, suitcases and bags took an 81% hit in interest. Sun cream was down 50%, and interest in winter sun also took a plunge, with a 71% reduction in interest in ski helmets.  

It’s clear that online platforms have become by far the most important outlet for securing a wide range of goods over the course of the last year, with “non-essential” shops closed for long periods of time. Regardless of a buyer’s situation or motivation, at a time when the online marketplace has become more competitive than ever, nobody deserves to get ripped off. Taking time to carry out research into the best product and the best price will always pay for itself. 

Our PriceSpy super saver Abbie Rendall, mum of two, shares her experience: “It’s been a whole year now since the start of lockdown and my spending habits have most definitely changed. 

“I have been comparing my spending habits before and during lockdown. Long gone are the days when I could nip to my local shops for the odd bits I needed and as a result my online shopping has increased greatly. 

“My go-to for most things now is definitely Amazon. Whereas I used to buy a lot of our non-essential items in store, I have done my best to limit going out as much as possible and so online shopping has become a daily occurrence. I took a look at my Amazon account for the month of February 2019 and compared it with February 2020. In 2019 I spent £93.12 and in February 2020 it was £484.39; a massive increase of over 400%.   

“With regard to saving money, I do believe online shopping is the way forward. I don’t know anyone who has ever popped into B&M or Home Bargains for some toilet roll and not walked out with at least a basket (if not a trolly) of unnecessary goods. In comparison, you shop online for the things you need more than the things you want. You can check out best prices and read customer reviews from different online retailers in the comfort of your home, whilst drinking a coffee that hasn’t cost you £3.20! However, I hope that when the world returns to normal we will all look after our local shops and businesses, which you really cannot put a price on.” 

This article has been written by PriceSpy and Milk & Honey PR. There are no paid links or other types of advertising collaborations. Ellie Yeardye can be reached at [email protected]