Brits spent £9bn on wacky purchases during lockdown

Kalila Sangster
·2-min read
Close up of a young woman online shopping on her laptop
Over a quarter of Brits made completely out of the ordinary purchases. Photo: Getty

UK consumers have spent £9bn ($12.2bn) collectively on weird and wonderful purchases throughout lockdown, according to new research from Barclays (BARC.L).

Brits splashed out on out of the ordinary items including a virtual reality headset, a gold skull, a dinosaur costume, and live animals such as ducks, sheep, and a horse.

A quarter of Brits spent more money on hobbies during lockdown, spending a collective £1.6bn across the UK after trying something new or taking up an old activity.

READ MORE: Third of Brits spent £100 extra on entertainment subscriptions in lockdown

Some 24% spent money on a hobby since the start of the year, including things such as musical instruments, roller skates and arts and crafts.

Despite 38% of Brits taking up a musical instrument, 88% said they do not plan to carry on playing it in 2021, the research found.

With people spending more time at home, Brits also spent more on improving their home or garden. Sales of barbeques, plants and furniture went up during lockdown, according to Barclaycard.

Jethro Clunies-Ross West London bought a gold skull and an accordion. Photo: Gerrard Gethings/Barclays
Jethro Clunies-Ross from West London bought a gold skull and an accordion. Photo: Gerrard Gethings/Barclays

Some Brits also seized the moment and bought something they had been thinking about for a while. Amy Polly from Lincolnshire spent £7,115 on a motorhome as staycations seemed to be the best option for the rest of the year.

Over a quarter (27%) of Brits made completely out of the ordinary purchases. Parrots, hot tubs and metal detectors made their way onto the list of some of the unusual items people bought.

A third (33%) reported that these unforeseen purchases made them happy during the stressful lockdown period.

Over a quarter (27%) of Brits who bought unusual items said keeping entertained and busy were the main motivators for splashing out in 2020, with 74% stating it was money well spent.

READ MORE: Brits throw away £26m of waste every year at Christmas

Dr Pete Brooks, Chief Behavioural Scientist at Barclays, said: “It’s fascinating to see the quirky items people have acquired throughout the year. From the small buys such as a cricket set, to the larger, life-changing purchases including animals, we hope these pictures raise a smile whilst providing a glimpse into lockdown life in the UK.

“It’s great to look back on how you’ve spent your money and it’s always helpful to use the end of the year to reflect and set financial goals for the future. This year has been like no other so perhaps it’s a more useful task than ever to reset your financial priorities as we head into 2021.”

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