New research from Admiral home insurance has revealed that one in five consumers has confessed to spending on new things to make lockdown at home more bearable during the lockdown.

The analysis suggests that housebound consumers splashed out an average of £792 each on everything from craft equipment to garden furniture, technology to toys, which although technically non- essential, were deemed critical by some for the comfort of themselves and their families. Although clothes were the single most popular purchase, some splashed out on significantly more unusual items, including farmyard manure and a butter churner.

Despite many consumers having their income affected as a result of Covid-19, on average spending was only 9% lower in the two months after lockdown started, compared with the two months prior (average spend of £875 per person in the two months before lockdown).

One in five (20%) people admitted to spending more on themselves and their homes during lockdown than normal, justifying their shopping as helping make their home more comfortable during lockdown (41%), providing something to fill their time at home (37%) and ‘stopping them being bored’ (25%).

Whilst the majority of consumer groups chose to tighten their ‘shopping’ belts in response to Covid-19, not everyone followed this trend. Students spent on average 54% more during lockdown than preceding it, whilst those working part time spent an additional 5% on average. At the other end of the scale, those in Wales cut back the most, spending 33% less during lockdown than before it. On average, men have spent 13% less during lockdown, whilst women only reduced their shopping bill by 5% on average.

By age, those aged 55-64 cut back the most, shrinking their spending by over a quarter (28%) during lockdown.

Overall, nearly half (44%) of those surveyed confessed they felt worried about spending too much during lockdown. Surprisingly more full time employees (60%) were worried about spending too much compared to those who have been furloughed (27%). As well as being the most concerned about spending, full time workers were also the group spending the most during lockdown, having spent £1,398 on average during lockdown, compared to just £298 on average by those on furlough.

Despite making purchases on a raft of new items, Admiral found over a third (36%) said they had not updated their home insurance to cover their new purchases. This is important as Admiral has seen an increase in claims for accidental damage during the lockdown. In the months of April and May it received 15% more accidental damage claims than during the same period last year.

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.”

Top 10: Most popular items purchased during lockdown

Rank Item
1 Clothes
2 Garden furniture
3 Make up
4 Shoes
5 Home office equipment
6 Craft equipment
7 Kitchen equipment
8 Headphones
9 Fragrance
10 Smart phone