Month one of lockdown: Britain takes in 430 million home deliveries as nation adapts to life indoors

27 April 2020


  • Nationwide Building Society reveals lockdown spending habits via consumer poll and own data
  • Nearly two thirds of Brits have changed their spending habits over the course of the lockdown
  • Despite overall spending dipping in lockdown, poll shows 4 in 10 have more disposable income
  • Nationwide data shows online spend has risen by 38% in the last 30 days compared to last year
  • 1 in 4 impulse buying due to browsing more online, while 15% browse for an hour or more a day
  • But Brits keen to give back as more than a third have donated money to charity during lockdown

Brits have been taking in millions of deliveries since the beginning of lockdown – from takeaways to technology – as the nation adapts to life indoors, new research shows.

As the UK enters the second month of lockdown, research from Nationwide Building Society, supported by data from its 16 million members, looks at the UK’s spending habits since the order was announced by the Prime Minister on 23 March. With the Government’s measures confining most people to their homes, more and more are going online for their shopping and having it delivered to their doors.

The research1 highlights that people are receiving an average of eight deliveries over the past month – equating to more than 428 million lockdown deliveries across the UK2. However, one in four (24%) have taken in more than ten deliveries in the past month and just under one in ten (8%) have received in excess of 20.

Nationwide’s own spending data shows that before lockdown, just under a third (29%) of all spend using a Nationwide debit card would typically be made online. However, this has since grown to 38 per cent.

The Society also saw an 89 per cent increase in the number of first-time registrations to its Online Bank between 16 March and 23 April, compared to 1 February and 15 March.

In terms of what this is costing people, Nationwide’s poll of more than 2,000 consumers highlights an average of £3073has been spent by people indoors. However, around one in five (18%) have spent more than £500. Men are likely to spend more, at an average of £335 compared to £279 for women. Across the regions, people in East Midlands (£329), North West (£324) and South West (£320) spent the most on average, with Scotland and North East spending the least (both £290).

Doorstep deliveries

The poll reveals that around a third of Brits (32%) are having an Amazon delivery at least once a week, while around a quarter (24%) are doing the same with their supermarket shopping. Each week, more than one in ten (12%) are having DIY and garden item deliveries and 22 per cent having a takeaway delivered at least once a week.

While the poll shows that Brits have so far received an average of eight home deliveries during lockdown, the frequency differs considerably depending on the item.

Delivery type Average deliveries since lockdown4
Amazon  5
Other online shopping stores (Next, John Lewis, Debenhams. Boohoo etc.)
 5
Supermarkets  5
Food boxes (Gousto, Graze etc.)
 6
Family/ friends / carer drop-offs
 6
DIY or Garden suppliers
 6
Takeaways  5
Milkman
 8
Goods for pets
 6
Medicines  5
Newspapers  8
Other  6

Spending levels

According to the poll, around two in five (39%) say their outlay over the last month is less than what they would normally spend during a typical month, with around a quarter (26%) saying it is more. This is despite four in ten (40%) admitting the pandemic has left them with more disposable income.

This is backed up by Nationwide’s own internal data for total spending5. The Society has analysed its own current account data in the four weeks up to 12 April and found that debit card spend fell by 41 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, perhaps not surprising given the number of stores and outlets closed. Contactless use was down to 33 per cent of all transactions, from around typically 49 per cent.

Further analysis of Nationwide’s current account spending data for the same period shows a distinct year-on-year contrast:

  • Restaurants: Spend down 70 per cent, despite some restaurants diversifying into offering takeaways.
  • Clothes: Spend fell by 52 per cent as people are forced to say indoors and not need to dress to impress.
  • Supermarkets: Spend up 25 per cent with each trip, online or instore, with average transactions of £25.
  • TV subscriptions: Spend up by 10 per cent as the nation stays indoors to devour shows and box sets.
  • Tech retailers: Spend down 10 per cent (average £60 each) but transactions still rose by 28 per cent.
  • Hardware stores: Spend up 33 per cent and transactions up 41 per cent (average £26 each) as nation turns to DIY and gardening.

Impulse purchasing:

With many Brits trying to find ways to occupy themselves at home during lockdown, online retail therapy has played a major role, with those that do browse spending an average of 41 minutes per day. However, more than one in seven (15%) admit to spending more than hour per day perusing online shopping sites and apps – this rises 25 per cent of those aged 16 to 24.

According to the poll, a quarter (25%) of Brits have made an impulse purchase as a result of browsing more since lockdown began, with 16 to 24-year-olds more than twice as likely to make these on-the-spot decisions compared to those aged between 45 and 54, at 41 per cent compared to 20 per cent.

A change of ways:

One consequence of being in lockdown appears to be people’s perceptions of their own spending habits, with nearly two thirds (62%) admitting they have changed over the course of the lockdown. In fact, a month into lockdown and there has been a re-evaluation of how spending habits may change once the restrictions are lifted. Around a third (32%) will be more mindful of what they purchase in future, while 31 per cent will cut back on non-essential spending. A quarter (25%) pledge to waste less food, while the same amount (25%) plan to keep a more watchful eye on their finances. More than one in five (21%) will spend less going out.

Charitable Brits:

Despite lots of people spending to keep themselves occupied, many are continuing to support charities, particularly during this current time – whether to raise money in support of the NHS, food banks or a range of charitable causes that are struggling during the outbreak. More than a third (34%) say they have donated money to charity since the lockdown measures were put in place, with the average amount donated at £41. More than one in 20 (7%) of those that have donated have given more than £100.

Mark Nalder, Nationwide’s Head of Payments Service & Strategy, said: “Looking at both our own customer data and research, we can see that the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying lockdown restrictions are having a sizeable impact on how we spend while we all remain at home.

“Overall spend has reduced, with people admitting that the last month has seen them spend less because most stores remain closed. However, that doesn’t mean spending has ground to a complete halt, with home deliveries having significantly increased during lockdown. To keep individuals and families fed, occupied and entertained, we are turning to the internet to not only purchase the essentials but also a range of discretionary items that we deem vital to help enjoy life as much as we can despite the worries and restrictions.

“But as we move into the second month of lockdown, it will be interesting to see how spending behaviour continues, with many saying that they are going to pay closer attention to their finances in future, whether being less wasteful and cut back on non-essential purchases.”

Notes to Editors

1 Research conducted online by Censuswide across two surveys:

  • Between 20 and 21 April 2020 with a nationally representative poll of 2,021 respondents
  • Between 23 and 24 April 2020 with a nationally representative poll of 2,000 respondents

2 Source: ONS - UK population aged 16+ of 53,811,371 x 8 deliveries = 430,490,968

3 This figure relates to that those that have spent money during lockdown

4 For respondents who have received this type of delivery

5 Nationwide’s own spending figures for lockdown (the four weeks to 12 April 2020 vs the same four weeks in 2019)

Category

Total Transaction Value Lockdown 2020*

Total Transactions Value Same Period 2019*

% change

Clothing

£51,298,709

£107,522,313

Down

52%

Fast Food

£28,578,474

£47,240,747

Down

40%

Restaurants

£37,680,296

£125,184,406

Down

70%

Subscription TV

£6,281,604

£5,700,394

Up

10%

Supermarkets

£668,075,620

£534,828,586

Up

25%

Tech Retailers

£18,840,084

£16,404,762

Up

15%

Hardware Stores

£33,638,644

£18,054,212

Up

86%


Category

Total Volume Transactions Lockdown 2020*

Total Volume Transactions Same Period 2019*

% change

Clothing

1,317,304

3,062,956

Down

57%

Fast Food

2,101,098

5,373,238

Down

61%

Restaurants

2,616,170

9,083,132

Down

71%

Subscription TV

388,551

387,691

Up

0%

Supermarkets

27,894,844

29,110,629

Down

4%

Tech Retailers

343,615

267,756

Up

28%

Hardware Stores

1,228,558

873,519

Up

41%


Category

Average Spend Lockdown 2020*

Average Spend Same Period 2019*

% change

Clothing

£39

£35

Up

11%

Fast Food

£16

£9

Up

86%

Restaurants

£17

£14

Up

24%

Subscription TV

£16

£15

Up

10%

Supermarkets

£25

£18

Up

34%

Tech Retailers

£55

£61

Down

10%

Hardware Stores

£28

£21

Up

33%

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Please note: If you are a customer looking for information on our products and services, please visit the main website.