How did shopping habits change last year?

How did shopping habits change last year?

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate


Last year, Brits shopped at independent stores and cut their spending on clothes, shoes and grooming products in favour of casualwear, a new lifestyle report has revealed.

The study of 6,000 UK adults in November 2020 found that 33% of people shopped at more local independent stores, whilst just over one in five (21%) bought more items from charity or pre-used suppliers.

Almost a third (30%) bought fewer clothes and shoes for themselves and their families, while 29% ditched their formal wear spending for more casual clothes.

With COVID restrictions in place, people have been less concerned with their personal appearance. A quarter of those polled report buying or using fewer grooming products, such as make-up or haircare products.

The How We Live study from Aviva also reported that 10% of households signed up to a food box subscription service in 2020, while 24% grew some of their own food.


One in six people (16%) cancelled their gym membership in 2020, while 11% signed up to online exercises classes or subscription services last year.

Meanwhile, one in five (21%) signed up or tried out a new TV subscription service and 10% signed up for a food box or meal subscription service.

Some 16% said they had bought more laptops, tablets and smartphones, while 18% had switched energy supplier.

One in 10 households reduced the number of vehicles they owned during 2020.

Aviva reports that many more of those polled are considering making these changes if they have not done so yet. For instance, more than a third (34%) were planning to switch energy providers.

Sarah Applegate, head of risk at Aviva General Insurance says: “Consumer behaviours underwent an overhaul in 2020 and we can expect some of these trends to continue, particularly as more businesses adopt models which allow for home working.

“This is likely to influence how many cars households own, the clothes people purchase and possibly even their personal grooming habits.”

Meal, TV and gym subscriptions popular with under-25s

While much of this change in behaviour could be seen across all age groups, some were popular among younger shoppers.

Consumers in the under-25 age group were five times more likely to subscribe to food box or meal subscription services than over-55s and twice as likely to take up a new TV subscription. Similarly, more than one in five under-25s (22%) joined online exercise classes or a fitness subscription, compared to just 4% of over-55s.

Have you changed your shopping habits?

If you shopped in different ways in 2020, make sure you’re not spending over the odds and see if you can cut costs:

  • While food boxes are convenient and you can try out new recipes, you can generally buy the dry ingredients for less in the supermarket. Don’t order them too often, look out special introductory deals and try new recipes online.
  • If you’re no longer wearing your formal wear, recoup some of your cash by selling your preloved items online.
  • Check out free only gym classes to see if it’s worth ditching those subscription fees. The NHS offers its free online fitness studio.
  • If you’ve splurged on high-tech products, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, check whether they are covered on your home insurance or take out new cover if not.

Discover 100+ ways to save money day-to-day or read about a simple strategy to easily save over £1,450 in 2021.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

How did shopping habits change last year? How did shopping habits change last year?