Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Home improvements thrive in lockdown

Published: 2 June 2020 - Alex Fordham

A new Aviva study gives a glimpse into home life under lockdown, with properties and homeownership aspirations all impacted.

The insurer interviewed more than 2,000 UK residents in May 2020 – six weeks into lockdown – regarding their current behaviours and future goals. Selected findings are compared with a similar Aviva survey carried out in December 2019. The research revealed:

Homes receive a touch of TLC

85% of UK residents have undertaken home improvement activities during the lockdown period, with decluttering proving most popular, a task carried out by more than half the population (56%).

Gardening came a close second, with 52% of UK residents testing out their green fingers, while more than a quarter (26%) have used the time for home decorating.

A previous Aviva study found seven in 10 homeowners ignored problems in their properties. But with more time at home, a fifth of householders (21%) have tackled home maintenance issues during lockdown.

Homeownership aspirations have shifted

Aviva research from December 2019 found that 68% of non-homeowners hoped to buy a property in the future. But this has now fallen to just 52% of non-homeowners.

In line with this, the number of under-25s hoping to get on the property ladder in the next five years has decreased from 35% in December 2019 to 27% in May 2020.

The number of households looking to trade up to a bigger property has also fallen from 10% to 8%, suggesting the current housing market is causing people to put plans on hold.

Lockdown has changed the way we use online services

The Aviva study also reveals that lockdown has accelerated the way we are using online services and video technology. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, 30% of UK residents aged 55+ used video calls. This has now risen to 38% of this age group, an increase of 26%.

Online grocery shopping has also increased marginally within this age bracket from 36% prior to lockdown to 38% during - although it has fallen considerably overall from 46% to 37%, suggesting people may have had difficulty obtaining delivery slots.

Interestingly, the number of internet-enabled devices per UK household has increased from 10.3 in December 2019 to 11.6 in May 2020.

However, while technology has proved crucial during lockdown to maintain business services and social connections, there are a number of areas where online usage has fallen dramatically. Just 29% of UK people have shopped for clothes online during lockdown, compared to 69% under normal circumstances. Online takeaway orders have almost halved from 50% to 27%, while appointment bookings (e.g. health, restaurants) have - understandably - shrunk from 50% to 10%.


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