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Brits typically spent £78 a month on takeaways, TV and alcohol in 2020

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

A report by LifeSearch found Brits spent 13% more on TV, food deliveries and booze in 2020 than they did in 2019.

The insurance broker’s Health Wealth & Happiness Index also found music streaming spending was up 13% last year, to £321m a month. Despite lockdown, spending on health and beauty increased by 14%.

Almost half (49%) of Brits admitted to spending more time watching TV during lockdown than in previous years, and this was mirrored in their spending.

On average, Brits spent £13.30 a month on TV streaming – an increase of 49% – while spending on TV subscriptions such as Sky and Netflix hit £26 a head per month. This means Brits spent a combined total of more than £2bn per month just on TV during lockdown.

With pubs and restaurants closed, many people tried to recreate the dining out experience at home. Spending on takeaway meals was up 19% during lockdown, to £18.80 per person per month, a collective total of £990m. Spending on booze remained constant, with just a 2% increase on 2019 – a total of £1bn every month.

People from London spent the most on takeaways at £22 a month, while people in Plymouth spent the least at £13. Those living in Newcastle spent the most on TV (£45 combined on streaming and subscriptions) while people in Cardiff were the biggest boozers, typically spending £25 a month.

Overall, it was Glasgow that spent the most every month, per person on TV, takeaways and booze combined, at £87. This was closely followed by Newcastle (£85) and Cardiff (£84) while people in Belfast (£66), Norwich and Plymouth (£67) spent the least.

However, it would seem this increased spending on fast food and drink has not been good for the nation’s health. More than a third (36%) admit they have been comfort eating more in the last year, while 21% have drunk more alcohol. As a result, more adults are feeling less fit (34%) and less healthy (29%) than those who are feeling fitter (25%) and healthier (25%).

Emma Walker, chief marketing officer at LifeSearch, said: “Despite a tough year of restrictions, Brits’ spending habits haven’t been curbed. Our study has found that it’s not just spending on alcohol, takeouts and TV streaming and subscriptions that have gone up in the last year, but also spending on health, beauty and fashion too while we’ve mostly been confined indoors.

“Our new Index has shown that the UK’s wealth hasn’t yet been as hard hit as our health and happiness has been in the last 12 months, partly as household savings have been at a record high and the furlough scheme has helped protect incomes. But, we may see changes in the months ahead and this is reflected in the fears that consumers shared with us from job insecurity through to rising bills and savings taking a hit.”