May 8, 20204 min read

Shopping trends: How Brits are adapting to life in lockdown.

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by Klarna

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on societies around the world, including the way we shop. In a time when many brick-and-mortar stores have temporarily closed down, people are going online to buy goods and services. 

In the UK, Klarna works with over 5000 retailers to offer our flexible payment solutions to over 7 million customers, giving us a unique position to share insights on how e-commerce has changed over the last seven weeks of lockdown in the UK. In this blog post, we outline some of the key consumer trends and shifts in shopping behaviours we have seen as Brits have adapted to life at home over lockdown.

So what have we seen?

  • Purchases of items in the Home & Garden category have spiked during lockdown across all ages as people spend more time at home.
  • Health & Beauty spending peaked during the first and second weeks of lockdown but level out as people got used to working from home.
  • Share of spending on Clothing & Shoes rises rapidly in the second week of March as lockdown became a possibility, but decreases as social distancing restrictions came into place.

Trends over time

Home & Garden – As people spend more time at home because of the precautions against COVID-19, we’ve seen week-on-week growth on things that make homes and garden’s just a little more comfortable. Although, this does also seem to be dependent on the weather as we saw a decline in the last week of April as we experienced a cool spell.

Health & Beauty – Lots of you invested in health and beauty products as the possibility of lockdown appeared, particularly in the week leading up to it. As people have settled into new routines and the realities of working from home, purchases have slowed.

Leisure, Sport & Hobbies – Again, we saw these products rise until 30th March but have since been in flux as people look for new ways to keep themselves entertained.

Clothing & Shoes – Much like beauty products, lots of you started March spending on new clothes as we ended Spring. In the same way also, as we’ve all settled into new routines with fewer social activities spending has rapidly decreased.

Generational difference

We also had a little look at how different age groups reacted to the new normal.

Gen Z (18-23) – Gen Z spend has been moving away from Clothing & Shoes it has done so at a slower rate than other age groups. However, in a change to normal behaviour they increased their spend on Home & Garden by 262% as they spend more time at home.

Millennials (24-39) – Millennials also decided to spend more time in their gardens (if they have them) also increasing their Home and Garden spend by 231% but also initially increased their spending on Leisure, Sport & Hobbies as lockdown began.

Gen X (40-55) – Gen X share of spend in the Leisure, Sport and Hobby category saw an increase of 62% in the two weeks leading up lock down. They also invested in Home & Garden but to a lesser extent, the category rising by 156%

Baby Boomer (55+) – Baby Boomer spending dropped the most significantly in the Clothing & Shoes category, decreasing 30% between 9th March and 20th April. Our old customers have also increased their spending on Home and Garden by 136%.

Adapting to lockdown

The week-by-week breakdown gives an unparalleled look into the shifting mindsets of consumers across the UK. It’s amazing to see how e-commerce purchasing habits have evolved with an early emphasis on Leisure, Sport & Hobbies and Health & Beauty as consumers chose to buy comfort items to work from home in, as well as workout wear to keep them fit and exercising in their living rooms. As we remain in lockdown and adapt to life at home in the summer, it is not surprising to see a focus on kitting out homes and gardens for the better weather.