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Tracksuits, trampolines and tequila. How lockdown has affected our shopping habits

You’re not the only one who’s wondered why you have an online basket full of potentially questionable things. We take a look at how everyone is spending differently in lockdown.  

By Alex Holder

Alex is a journalist and author, who writes for The Guardian, The Telegraph, GraziaRefinery29 and Elle among others. Her book, Open Up - Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life, was released this year. Here’s what she had to say, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

Time to read: 5 minutes


Have you bought something bizarre in the last few weeks? Then you’re not alone, quarantine has seen our spending take a different turn. Let’s look at what those long days stuck indoors have us ordering…

What do sneeze guards, bunting and bread makers have in common? These seemingly random items have all seen their sales spike during our time in lockdown. With our daily routines changing so drastically, it’s no surprise that so too have our shopping baskets; kettle bells have seen a 419% jump in sales, online garden centres have reported a huge increase in sales of plant seeds and games suppliers are selling out of indoor table tennis tables. Bought a puzzle or a yoga mat? Gone mad perfecting your banana bread? Then I’m afraid to say, you’re a lockdown cliché (but don’t worry, we all are).

With many of the things that normally keep us sane being taken away from us – childcare, hugs, catching up with mates in the pub – we’re left searching for endorphins online, cue the bizarre shopping habits we’ve developed during lockdown. In fact, despite the far-reaching financial changes for people and businesses alike, the stay at home orders haven’t stopped everyone shopping and recent YouGov* research found that only one in ten people reported buying much less than usual over the last month.

So if you’ve bought something unlikely or a little out of character, some exfoliating foot socks perhaps or like the rest of the country, a tracksuit or a bottle of tequila, then rest assured you’re not the only one opening up a delivery thinking, ‘wait, why did I buy this?’ Here are some first direct customer confessions:

  • I might have ordered a pink wig for my bald husband. With our four-year-old at home she kept bashing his head with a hair-brush to play hairdressers, I thought a wig would minimise pain for him and entertain her…it worked!
  • I bought a musical instrument I cannot play, and not a small one I can just put in a cupboard. No, I thought now was the perfect time to learn to play the cello. It sits in the corner of the lounge taunting me but I can’t play as everyone in the house says it gives them a headache. Turns out, no one wants to be quarantined with a learner cello player. 
  • When we first went into lockdown I was panicked into stocking up on a few staples, but then shopping became ok, and now I have 8kg of rice in my kitchen.
  • I ordered a 12ft trampoline – I wanted somewhere the kids could really burn off their energy - but only realised when it arrived that it needs to be sunk into the ground and needs a 12ft wide and 4ft deep hole digging in the garden not to mention the mound of earth to be disposed of – probably not going in till December.
  • I’ve been to the gym 4 times in the last year – so I bought a whole set of kettlebells to finally get into the best shape of my life, that motivation lasted exactly one week.

As funny as these purchases are, they all in their own way make perfect sense of these strange times. So if you too have bought something a little crazy, something that only an eccentric Aunt would buy at a Christmas market, then rest assured you’re not the only one. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but maybe next time your cursor hovers over the ‘buy now’ button, take a moment to think ‘do I really need this?'

*Source: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/consumer/articles-reports/2020/04/28/three-ten-brits-buying-clothes-or-beauty-products-


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