From hot tubs to fire pits, what Britons splashed out on in lockdown

Britain may now technically find itself in a recession but households have still splashed the cash during lockdown.

Spending on everything from garden features such as pizza ovens to products to entertain the family and annoy the neighbours, including karaoke machines.

While the shutters came down on shops in mid-March and Britons forced to stay indoors unless under certain circumstances, many households took to online shopping to spend money instead. 

Karaoke machines, fire pits, grooming kits and Play-Doh were popular buys during lockdown

Karaoke machines, fire pits, grooming kits and Play-Doh were popular buys during lockdown

Karaoke machines, fire pits, grooming kits and Play-Doh were popular buys during lockdown

Projectors, tambourines and fire pits are just a few of the sought after items that soared in popularity during lockdown.

Some of the buys were practical with e-retailers seeing a large increase in active wear and grooming kits whilst others were much more unusual.

Not only did eBay see a rise in people shopping for Beatles’ branded clothing, Argos saw a surge in customers purchasing Play-Doh with it being the number one toy sold between March and April.

This is Money took a look at consumers shopping habits over the lockdown period and reveals what items were the most popular up and down the country.

Garden

Those lucky enough to have gardens made the most of it during lockdown as temperatures soared to record levels. 

Hot tubs were widely considered the hottest commodity of lockdown with Argos reporting a sales increase of 242 per cent year on year in March to April 2020.

Visits to the hot tub page on the site also increased by a massive 1,872 per cent.

Love the Sales, an online site that tracks sales from over 1,000 online retailers operating in the UK, added that hot tub sales increased by a massive 646 per cent on its site between March to June 2020, when compared to the same time last year.

It said garden furniture sets and outdoor pizza oven sales were also both up by 306 per cent whilst hedge trimmers saw an 82 per cent increase year on year.

Fire pits were also a popular choice for customers with e-commerce site, Etsy, reporting a 232 per cent increase in searches for the garden feature in the last three months compared to the same time the previous year.

Garden: Etsy said it has seen a 232% increase in searches for fire pits in the last three months

Garden: Etsy said it has seen a 232% increase in searches for fire pits in the last three months

Garden: Etsy said it has seen a 232% increase in searches for fire pits in the last three months

Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert, said: ‘With shoppers spending more time at home then ever, they are turning their attention to their gardens. 

Fire pits are becoming increasingly popular this summer giving people a reason to stay outside after dark keeping you warm and cosy.’

Unable to go to festivals as planned, consumers took to taking the party to their back garden as searches for camping chairs were up 47 per cent compared to 2019 and projectors were up by 126 per cent on eBay as Britons streamed the best of Glastonbury from their gardens.

Patio heaters also increased by 201 per cent on Argos whilst sales of kids’ ball games increased by 360 per cent, paddling pools by 192 per cent and water guns by 273 per cent.

How many have you bought?

1. Hot tub

2. Garden furniture

3. Outdoor pizza oven

4. Hedge trimmer

5. Fire pit 

6. Camping chair

7. Projector

8. Patio heater

9. Kids’ ball games

10. Paddling pool

11. Water gun 

12. Active wear

13. Fitness gear

14. Exercise mat 

15. Trainer socks 

16. Grooming kit

17. Hair clippers

18. Skincare

19. Facial masks

20. Hair treatments

21. Colourful make up palettes 

22. Self-tanning products 

23. Leopard print clothing

24. Blonde wigs

25. Silver chains 

26. Adult costumes 

27. Loungewear

28. Karaoke machines

29. Microphones

30. Beatles menswear 

31. Tambourine

32. Board games

33. Play-Doh 

34. Landlines

35. Kids tablets

36. Playstation 4 

37. Xbox One 

38. Flat screen television

39. Bread maker 

40. DIY kits

41. Decorative bedding

42. Office desk  

43. Electric fireplaces 

Fitness

A large number of people planned to get fit during lockdown with active wear and fitness gear seeing huge leaps in interest this year as Britons decided to make the most of their allocated hour of exercise.

Sales of fitness equipment increased by 132 per cent at Argos during March and April this year, compared to last, with the Opti Basic exercise mat named as the number one selling fitness product.

Demand for trainer socks also boomed with men’s trainer liners and sports socks up 305 per cent year on year.

Grooming kits saw a surge in popularity during lockdown as beauticians and hairdressers shut

Grooming kits saw a surge in popularity during lockdown as beauticians and hairdressers shut

Grooming kits saw a surge in popularity during lockdown as beauticians and hairdressers shut

Fashion and beauty 

Despite households being unable to go out to dinner and socialise with friends and family as they would usually, consumers were still taking good care of their appearance.  

Sales of grooming kits increased year on year by 398 per cent and hair clippers by 479 cent at Argos as households had to learn to live without hairdressers and beauticians.

John Lewis added self-care was top of the agenda for its customers as beauty regimes and skincare sales were up 183 per cent during lockdown while facial masks and hair treatments were up 187 per cent.

Colourful makeup palette sales were also up 57 per cent at the department store whilst sales of self-tanning products rose by 41 per cent. 

It may seem like a lifetime ago but the nation was still obsessing over Tiger King earlier this year, which has led to some unlikely purchases.

Searches for silver chains increased by 70% after being seen on Connell in Normal People

Searches for silver chains increased by 70% after being seen on Connell in Normal People

Searches for silver chains increased by 70% after being seen on Connell in Normal People

Since the series launched on 20 March, there has been almost a search every minute for leopard print clothing, including leopard print suits, eBay data shows.

It added that blonde wigs, inspired by Joe Exotic’s iconic mullet, were searched for every two minutes.

TV has also inspired some other purchases including silver chains, made infamous by Connell on BBC’s Normal People, with searches on eBay increasing in April by 70 per cent.

As parents rustle up new ways to entertain their children, they came up with some unique ideas. 

Sales of adult costumes were up 246 per cent year on year at Argos with the top five most popular characters to dress up as characters from Frozen, Disney princess Ariel, Spiderman, Superman and the Hulk.

Loungewear clothing, unsurprisingly, also saw a massive surge in sales as more people were free to sit at home all day long.

Jogging bottoms saw a 306 per cent increase in sales, pyjamas had a 233 per cent rise whilst hoodies also had a 123 per cent increase in sales year on year, according to Love the Sales.

Sales of karaoke machines have risen in lockdown as people look to entertain themselves

Sales of karaoke machines have risen in lockdown as people look to entertain themselves

Sales of karaoke machines have risen in lockdown as people look to entertain themselves

Entertainment

For some, the cancellation of the final of Eurovision was a lockdown blessing, but for many fans across the UK, there was a musical void which needed to be filled.

This led to the nation stocking up on 168 per cent more karaoke machines and recreating the contest at home instead, according to eBay. 

Searches for microphones were also up 80 per cent in March when compared to the previous month. 

A more peculiar lockdown pattern showed men wanting to channel their inner Paul McCartney, with searches for ‘The Beatles’ in menswear increasing by 67 per cent on the site from the previous month.

Tambourine searches also rocketed by 40 per cent in May – around the time when Britain took to the streets to Clap for our Carers.

Traditional family fun also got a look in with sales of board games on Argos increasing by 261 per cent between the months of Feb 2020 and March 2020.

Monopoly Classic was revealed to be the number one selling board game in this time.

Play Doh Super Colour kit was also the number one selling toy between March and April 2020 at Argos. 

Searches for 'The Beatles' in menswear increasing by 67%, data from eBay has revealed

Searches for 'The Beatles' in menswear increasing by 67%, data from eBay has revealed

Searches for ‘The Beatles’ in menswear increasing by 67%, data from eBay has revealed

Electronics

It was never a more important time to keep in touch during lockdown which led to an increase of landlines being sold. 

John Lewis reported an 80 per cent rise in sales for the devices – somewhat surprising as most households now own mobile phones.

To keep the children entertained, parents turned to kid’s tablets with sales increasing by 232 per cent year on year on Argos.

Gaming was also on the agenda for households up and down the country with Playstation 4 sales increasing by 307 per cent year on year whilst Xbox One sales also rose by 220 per cent, according to Love the Sales.

With more and more households sat at home all day, entertainment was a must. As a result, flat screen televisions saw an 83 per cent increase in sales.

Bread makers also saw a 396 per cent increase in sales year on year, according to Love the Sales. This is no doubt in response to the extra time that households had to experiment in the kitchen. 

DIY  

The lockdown period gave thousands of homes who had been putting off redecorating their home the time to actually sit down and do it. 

This led to a 162 per cent increase in searches on Etsy for DIY kits in the last three months when compared to the same time last year.

Decorative bedding sales were also up 130 per cent at John Lewis as more people decided to redesign their homes. 

As more households had to adapt to working from home full time, office furniture was a necessary requirement. 

As such, office desk sales increased by 232 per cent, according to Love the Sales.

Despite the fairly good weather, electric fireplaces also rose in popularity on the site with sales increasing by 124 per cent. 

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