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£6.6bn wasted on pandemic purchases no longer used

Written by: Emma Lunn
Gaming equipment, tools, clothes, and home gym gear were the most commonly regretted purchases during lockdown.

A study by Aviva titled How We Live found that nine out of 10 (88%) Brits spent money on ‘treat’ purchases during the pandemic at a cost of more than £57.6bn across the nation. This equates to £1,205 per purchaser.

But about £6.6bn worth of goods bought during the pandemic are rarely or never used now that life has returned to normal.

The insurer found that more than half (54%) of the UK population bought clothes and shoes during the pandemic. A third (34%) bought gadgets and electrical goods, while 18% splashed out on gaming equipment, and 24% on kitchen equipment.

Home gym equipment was snapped up by 16% of UK adults, while musical instruments were the order of the day for 8% of the population. One in 20 adults (5%) say they bought a hot tub during the pandemic.

However, millions of UK adults now regret their purchases. Nearly a tenth (9%) of buyers said they no longer use certain pandemic purchases; 11% confessed they used items less than expected, while 8% admitted they didn’t use them at all.

Most people were going to make certain purchases anyway, but others (27%) did so because they were spending more time at home, while 26% shopped to cheer themselves up, and 20% to relieve boredom.

Almost a fifth (17%) of purchasers said they had more disposable income after losing out on holidays and social events, while one in eight (13%) said they needed equipment for a new hobby.

Amongst those who say they regretted items bought during the pandemic, gaming equipment was the most common culprit for buyer’s remorse, with almost half (45%) of purchasers regretting games and consoles.

More than four in 10 (43%) regretted buying clothes or tools, while a similar number (39%) regretted buying home gym equipment. Gym equipment turned out to be the item most likely to no longer be used, with 49% of pandemic purchases now gathering dust.

Nicki Charles, customer and marketing director at Aviva said: “So much has changed since the start of 2020. The way we work, how we interact with others – and it seems the contents of our homes too. Faced with weeks or months at home, many of us made purchases to entertain ourselves – often costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds.”

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