Statistics on Spending Habits During the UK’s Lockdown

30-second summary:

  • Spending in the UK was 17% higher in lockdown compared to the previous period – which included Christmas 2019.
  • Some industries most positively affected included: online streaming, buy now pay later, lingerie brands, DIY stores and takeaways.
  • We carried out research to find out where customers were and weren’t spending their money during lockdown and exactly how our priorities have been shaken up by the pandemic.

The beginning of the decade has been quite an eventful one for us all – to say the least! As lockdown has been imposed across the world – forcing us to stay at home – many of us quickly had to adapt to the new norm of home working, socialising, social distancing and so much more.

And while many of us continue to work from home, socialising online via Zoom, baking cakes and having kitchen discos, adapting to this new lifestyle lockdown has given us, we’ve been putting our thinking caps on.

We’ve collected Fablious user data to take a look at how our spending habits and priorities have changed during the course of lockdown.

So if you’re wondering the exact ways lockdown has impacted your finances – and whether we’ve become better at saving or are merely spending our hard-earned money in different ways, then you’ve come to the right place.

Spending’s on the up!

During the course of lockdown, users as a whole have spent 17% more than they did when compared to the previous, which includes the run-up to the festive period of 2019, including all of that Christmas shopping!

How have our spending habits changed?

While we stayed at home and helped to protect the NHS, some industries and companies saw a considerable boost in the number of customers buying their services and products. While others unfortunately suffered from huge setbacks – here are the most significant changes we’ve made to our spending during the UK’s lockdown.

What businesses and retailers did we spend more with?

1. Online streaming services


While so many of us have been staying in – online streaming services and platforms were on the rise seeing an increase of sign-ups and purchases, with Disney+ even launching their new streaming service the day after the lockdown was announced in the UK.

  • Netflix (↑6%)
  • Disney+ (↑∞)
  • Now TV (↑15%)
  • Prime Video (↑62%)

*Number of transactions

2. Lingerie and Adult brands

Others were splashing the cash on lingerie and adult brand Ann Summers, meaning that arguably, some wanted to make the most of their time in lockdown with their partners, or even just themselves. In fact, Fablious users spent 36x more on Lingerie then they did previously.

  • Ann Summers (↑3614%)

*Total amount

3. Online Game Stores and Subscriptions


Avid and casual gamers took advantage of more downtime at home. With less pressure to be sociable, many users spent more on game subscriptions, eShops and consoles during the lockdown than they did previously. During lockdown – many awaited games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Resident Evil 3 and The Last of Us: Part II were released.

  • Nintendo (↑230%)
  • XBOX (↑95%)
  • Playstation (↑32%)

*Total amount

4. Buy Now Pay Later retail finance

In the past few years before lockdown, buy now pay later brands such as LaybuyClearpay, and Klarna were already making massive waves in the UK retail industry. And it would seem that lockdown has pushed pay later retail finance’s popularity into full throttle. The number of Buy Now Pay Later transactions increased throughout lockdown by 46%.

  • Klarna (↑38%)
  • Laybuy (↑185%)
  • Clearpay (↑22%)

*Number of transactions

5. DIY and Home stores


You may be thinking if we’re already spending time at home, it makes sense to spend more time on those DIY and home improvements you’ve been putting off because you haven’t had the time to, right? Exactly, and it would appear that you’re not alone in thinking that, as more people flocked to home and DIY stores to spend more on their projects.

  • Toolstation (↑427%)
  • B&Q (↑114%)
  • The Range (↑101%)
  • Homebase (↑53%)
  • DuneIm (↑41%)

*Total amount

6. Takeaways

As restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and bistros closed during the lockdown, many of us were missing out on eating out. Many more than usual made the switch over to takeaways and fast food brands to ensure that cheat meals and end of the week treats didn’t fade into obscurity during the lockdown.

  • Just Eat (↑40%)
  • Deliveroo (↑86%)
  • Domino’s Pizza (↑40%)

*Number of transactions

7. Supermarkets


Everyone needs food; it’s a given. However, supermarkets did see an increase in the total amount being spent in shops, even though the number of transactions generally were lower than usual, suggesting that customers were buying more in bigger shops to go to the supermarket less often.

  • Tesco’s (↑21%)
  • Sainsbury’s (↑16%)
  • Morrisons (↑32%)
  • ASDA (↑27%)
  • Lidl (↑22%)
  • Aldi (↑20%)

*Transaction amount

8. Bingo & Casinos

While this year has been quite unlucky, some must still be feeling lucky to spend more money on gambling, bingo and casino games during lockdown. While some betting websites and bookies took a hit during the pandemic while sports events were temporarily suspended, other gambling sites have been raking it in, with an 87% increase in the amount being spent.

  • Mecca Bingo (↑47%)
  • Jackpot Joy (↑351%)
  • 888 Games (↑546%)

*Total amount

We also wrote a more in-depth analysis of how entertainment spending has surged during UK lockdown for more in-depth analysis.

9. Online Cards and Occasions


Many of us had to spend birthdays, births and anniversaries away from some of our nearest and dearest during the tighter phases of lockdown. Instead, many users switched to use online card services to send our loved ones a little reminder that we were thinking of them on their special day.

  • Moonpig (↑141%)
  • Funky Pigeon (↑59%)
  • Thortful (↑11)

*Number of transactions

10. Lottery tickets

Were you feeling lucky? Clearly, a lot of users were, as there was a significant increase in the number of transactions for things such as lottery and lotto tickets. And don’t worry we’ve got our fingers crossed for you.

  • The National Lottery (↑68%)
  • Postcode Lottery (↑17%)
  • Lotto Land (↑219%)

*Number of transactions

11. Business Loans

The banking and finance industry in the UK has provided significant support in the form of business finance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic through three major government-backed lending schemes: the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). Since the launch of the first coronavirus loan scheme two months ago, lenders have approved £27.5 billion to over 650,000 businesses, demonstrating an unprecedented level of support during these challenging times.

In the past week alone, over £5.4 billion was lent to more than 146,000 firms. The BBLS, targeting sole traders and micro businesses, has been particularly active, with £18.45 billion provided and an increase of over 143,000 loans to 608,000. The CBIL scheme has supported 43,000 businesses with £8.2 billion, and the CLBIL scheme has assisted 154 larger firms with a total of £820 million in finance. The increase in lending over the last week amounted to £1.1 billion across the CBILS and CLBILS, indicating ongoing support.

These schemes represent a critical part of the sector’s efforts to aid businesses during the pandemic, alongside other financial support measures such as working capital facilities, overdraft extensions, capital repayment holidays, and asset-based finance.

What businesses and retailers did we spend less with?

1. Coffee shops and Food chains

Many of us are no longer at the office, meaning that we no longer pop for our morning pick me up or run off to our nearest eatery to grab a quick lunch with colleagues have since become a thing of the past for the time being. As many of us come to flock back into workspaces, this is bound to bounce back.

  • Starbucks (↓-57%)
  • Costa (↓-76%)
  • Pret-a-manger (↓-66%)
  • Greggs (↓-78%)
  • KFC (↓-50%)
  • Marks and Spencer Food (↓-79%)

*Number of transactions

2. Mid-range fashion brands


A lot of mid-range fashion brands suffered at the hands of lockdown as many spent less on general fashion in comparison to pre-lockdown. While we all need clothes, the demand for fashionable clothing could have been affected by fewer users going out and on holiday, which may require a new outfit.

  • Debenhams (↓-66%)
  • Marks and Spencer (↓-51%)
  • New Look (↓-61%)
  • TKMaxx (↓-60%)

*Number of transactions

3. Health and beauty

Splashing out on makeup, perfume or beauty products to make ourselves feel and look great is one of life’s little luxuries that we enjoy. However, it would seem that even work video conference calls aren’t driving us to style our hair, paint our nails and put on makeup as much as usual.

  • Boots (↓-41%)
  • Lush (↓-75%)

*Number of transactions

4. Fuel


Many of us were advised against travel unless it was absolutely essential, meaning that most of us who were able to do so worked remotely or put off seeing their Granny for a little while until it was safe to do so – which meant there was little reason for us to go to the petrol station and fill up.

  • ASDA petrol (↓-12%)
  • Morrisons petrol (↓-10%)
  • Sainsbury’s petrol (↓-42%)

*Number of transactions

5. Video Game Retailers

With the shutting of all non-essential shops and the accessibility of gaming subscriptions and eShops, some video game retailers were affected even though many shops and online retailers were selling out of games and video game consoles.

  • GAME (↓-54%)

*Total amount

Which industries saw an increase in sales?


Asides from retailers, many industries as a whole reported an increase in total revenue, transactions made, and the average amount spent min their shops online and in-store. Here were some of the top categories and industries as a whole that increase in popularity during the lockdown.

1. Personal Finance

While our users were saving money on things such as days out and transport (we’ll get to this in a bit), many were instead investing their money in their finances by using things such as budgeting trackers and credit checkers, using their time in lockdown to their own advantage.

  • Budgeting and Credit Reporting Services (↑51%)

*Number of transactions

2. Bikes and Accessories

Many who weren’t able to work remotely or travel by car were urged to cycle and avoid overcrowding public transportation where possible – meaning that there was quite a surge in the number of people making bike and biking accessory purchases.

Some retailers and the Government have been further encouraging this with things such as the Cycle to WorkNHS discount and Fix Your Bike schemes.

  • Bikes and Accessories (↑175%)

*Number of transactions

3. Amazon


Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, is worth over $193 billion, crazy right? But when you see how much amazon dominates so many online markets with prime video, music, groceries and more. It’s no wonder how well they’ve performed over lockdown across so many countries.

  • Amazon (↑45%)
  • Retail (↑40%)
  • Prime (↑6%)
  • Prime Video (↑56%)

*Total amount spent

4. Music and Downloads

More time spent at home and for many, more free time, means that many more of us have forked out more money for apps and music subscriptions than we usually would.

  • Music and Downloads (↑38%)

*Total amount spent

5. Personal Loans


Personal loans have always been popular with consumers to help them recover after a period of financial difficulty to help them increase their budget. However, throughout lockdown, many have paid out more money to payday and short-term loan companies than before.

  • Personal loans (↑19%)

*Total amount spent

Which industries saw a decrease in sales?

However, many industries weren’t so lucky. Many were forced to close from the enforced lockdown measures. And with some businesses being unable to sell their products or services online or offer the type of experiences that customers wanted, this meant that the following industries weren’t getting our pennies.

1. Days Out

As for many of us who have followed lockdown procedures, it may not come as a surprise to many that the amount we spend on days out on things such as the cinema, music gigs, theatre, among other things has dropped dramatically.

  • Cinemas (↓-97%)
  • Days out (↓-81%)
  • Music tickets (↓-98%)
  • Theatre tickets (↓-24%)

*Number of transactions

2. Restaurants, Cafes and Bistros


Pubs, bars and restaurants were forced to close under lockdown measures along with many other non-essential shops – not being allowed to reopen again until the 4th of July with social distancing measures put in place to ensure customers safety.

  • Restaurants, Cafes and Bistros (↓-74%)

*Number of transactions

3. Holidays

Although holidaymakers are now permitted to go abroad as long as they quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the UK, many others had their long-awaited holidays cancelled as only essential travel was allowed. Many still feel uncomfortable to travel during these times.

  • Flights (↓-55%)
  • Hotels and accommodation (↓-29%)

*Number of transactions

4. Mortgage Payments


As lockdown and furlough measures were put in place, many worried about how they were to pay their rent and their mortgage. However, many landlords and homeowners were granted a mortgage holiday; the scheme has since been extended until the 31st of October 2020.

  • Mortgages (↓-51%)

*Number of transactions

5. Transportation

Transportation on public transport has been lifted slightly from essential travel only; however many workers still continue to work from home as long as they are able to do so to avoid packed out public transport – compromising the safety of many.

  • Trains and coaches (↓-51%)
  • Taxis (↓-40%)

*Number of transactions

What does this say about our finances and priorities during the UK’s lockdown?


1. Panic buying left us spending more and food shopping less

Before lockdown took hold in the UK, the shelves in supermarkets were left bare by customers who decided to panic-buy—clearing the shelves of supplies of things such as eggs, flour, tinned goods, pasta, toilet rolls, hand soap and much more.

What effect has this had on our supermarket spending?

Since April, panic buying and food shortages have slowly been decreasing, especially as lockdown measures begin to ease. However, it would seem that users are now shopping less at supermarkets and spending more in one shop as is suggested by the decrease in transactions but increases in amount and average transaction amount.

2. A lot of money was spent keeping ourselves entertained during the pandemic

After a while, the novelty of working from home and spending more time indoors soon wore off for many of us. To save us from getting too bored, many of us splashed out on expenses of new games consoles, games, eShops and even online gambling and casinos to help keep us entertained.

For a more in depth analysis of why we spent so much on entertainment during the lockdown – you can read our article here.

3. Many of us took lockdown as the opportunity to take hold of our finances


Budgeting and credit reporting services were shown to have a 51% increase in lockdown – meaning that many of us were trying harder to budget more efficiently and work to give our credit a good boost. Devoting more of our time, effort and even money on making our budgets go that little bit further and improve our prospects for the future.

What does that say about our spending?

For most of us, we travelled, ate and drank out and had a lot fewer days out than we did previously to lockdown – therefore it would seem that while we spent less on going out, a lot of us took the opportunity to spend our money elsewhere, which for most would benefit us in the long run.

As money grew and continues to grow shorter, many of us may continue to spend more to ensure that our budget and credit is as good as it can be to stand us in good stead for the future – where it seems like anything could happen!

4. Many took advantage of mortgage payment holidays

Many of the UK workforce worried about how they would cope as many jobs were furloughed, made redundant and many self-employed workers couldn’t do their jobs anymore.

For some, the mounting pressure and increasing anxiety over how they would pay their rent and mortgage payments worsened. However, the government stepped in to introduce mortgage holiday payments during this time, meaning that there became less pressure on homeowners and landlords to make payments.

The scheme has been extended until the 31st of October 2020.

How has this affected our spending?

Fablious data recorded that mortgage payments decreased by a little over a half, meaning that just over half of customers needed to take a mortgage holiday in light of recent events affecting their circumstances.


5. There was a greater need for credit such as personal loans and buy now pay later

Both personal loans and buy now pay later schemes were increasingly popular within the UK before lockdown hit, however, it would seem that both have increased even more in popularity – going as far to say that the lockdown seems to have accelerated their popularity.

How did this affect our spending?

We also wrote a more in-depth analysis of how Buy Now Pay Later has increased in popularity over the course of lockdown for more in-depth analysis.

Our data found that the amount of money paid to personal loan companies increased by 19% and users spent on average 30% more in April to June when compared to the previous period from January to March.

What does it say about our spending?

There are two scenarios which could explain the increase of 19% spent on personal loans, either more users were taking out short term loans or as some of us were spending less money on things such as travel, eating out and holidays, this meant that some of us were able to make larger repayments on personal loans.

However, the increased need for buy now, pay later schemes, showing that now, 1 in 3 people now use retail finance and spend on average £560 a year, suggesting that more users need credit and could be searching for it using alternative methods such as buy now pay later.

What are our predictions for the future?


Will more shops shut down?

Many shops have seen an increase in online orders; therefore, many are now considering getting rid of some of their stores as many businesses make the switch to putting more money behind online shopping resources instead of having to pay expensive rents and leases in shopping centres and high streets across the country.

Will Online shopping continue to boom?

As lockdown gradually eases, while many will be hitting the high street shops and flocking to shopping centres, many won’t feel as comfortable to do so. While masks were made mandatory in shops on the 24th of July, many shoppers may still think that online shopping is the ‘safer’ option and continue to do so.

Will customers think more carefully about where they shop?

Most retailers online and some instore are now offering a variety of different ways to pay for their purchases, such as store credit, PayPal, buy now pay later and credit cards.

With such a variety of options being made readily available at our favourite retailers, could this possibly make customers think twice about where they shop? Opting for brands that offer the checkout options that customers want – over ones that don’t.

Will our spending habits continue to reflect our current situation?

We won’t be in lockdown forever, meaning that we’ll gradually begin to spend more on those categories such as pubs and restaurants that we neglected during lockdown – many of which are sure to bounce back.

However, we do predict that our spending will change due to the pandemic, and some categories that have seen a boost don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Watch this space…


*Sample data taken from anonymous Fablious open banking data, from 324 users over the period of 12/11/2019 until 23/03/2020 compared to 23/03/2020 until 02/08/2020.

**Buy now pay later sample data taken from anonymous Fablious open banking data, from 351 users over the period of 20/05/2020 until the 02/08/2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I control my spending habits?

If you want to curb your bad spending habits, then here are some tips for cutting back on your spending.

  • Don’t shop emotionally: avoid spending money when you feel happy or down; this can lead to reckless spending or becoming too emotionally attached to spending money in order to feel satisfied.
  • Set a budget: if you want more money left over at the end of the month, so you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, give yourself a budget and make sure that you stick to it.
  • Track your spending: setting yourself a budget is easy; however, knowing when your spending is going to make you go over budget is a little more complicated. Get an app or regularly check your transactions to make sure you’re keeping within budget.
  • Use the 48-hour rule: seen something you like or think you need? Wait 48 hours before you go ahead and purchase it to ask yourself whether you need it and if the money could be better spent elsewhere.
  • Prioritise bills and debts: if you’ve got the choice between spending money on things you don’t necessarily need, or paying your debts and bills – prioritise your bills and debts first. As delaying bills and debts can result in fees and interest rises that can cause affordability issues in the problems in the future.
What can I do to cut costs during the pandemic?

In recent times, looking after your finances have become increasingly more critical, as the future holds many uncertainties. If you’re looking to cut the costs during lockdown – here’s a few ways you can save money.

  • Only buy what you need: if it isn’t a necessity, then reconsider buying it.
  • Have no spend months: alternate your spending months, refraining from buying anything that is not an absolute necessity during these periods.
  • Prioritise saving money if you can: by cutting the costs of your spending you should be left with more money at the end of the month – try to put this away in a savings account for rainy days.
  • Compare prices before you shop: nine times out of 10 you may be able to get exactly what you need for just a fraction of the cost – so also shop around before you purchase to make sure you’re getting it for the best price.
Is now a good time to get my finances back on track?

Fablious data has shown that during the pandemic, there were 51% more transactions made to credit reporting and budgeting services than before. If you have more free time or disposable income to invest in getting your finances on track – now could be a great time to do so.

If you’re looking to save money or build a credit report that you can be proud of, Fablious have a vast array of credit builders and exclusive offers to help you save money for a better financial future.

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