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Inflatable pub tops weird list of Brits’ £40bn lockdown spending

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Brits spent £40bn on items to alleviate the lockdown boredom, with the more common spend on takeaways and garden plants, to the more unusual, including an inflatable pub and antique diving suit.

Analysis of Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals Brits spent £40.6bn on dispensable items during lockdown.

This is an average of £771.34 each with a third of people justifying their spend as a way of making lockdown more fun, while 28% said they bought goods, services and ‘insperiences’ to make their families happy.

While takeaway food and drink (24%), summer clothing (19%) and outdoor plants and flowers (16%) topped the most common list of items bought, Barclaycard also revealed the most bizarre items bought by shoppers.

These include an inflatable pub, World War II mask, antique diving suit and milk churn, a penny farthing, as well as a piece of the moon and a star.

But on the whole, the spending can be grouped into clear categories: smartening up homes and gardens, updating wardrobes, entertaining the kids, sports and outdoor gear and spending on pets.

Barclaycard research revealed 80% plan to keep the items they bought, while 6% said they felt they wasted their money. Half said their purchases were ‘useful’ but 20% said they’re planning to give away at least one lockdown purchase to charity. 

With an average estimated value of £65.90 per donation, Brits are on track to give £543m worth of goods to charity over the coming months.

Kirsty Morris, managing director for account development at Barclaycard Payments, said: “Being at home for such an extended period of time meant that Brits became imaginative with how they spent their money. Whether it was to keep themselves or their families entertained, people have emerged from lockdown with an impressive array of quarantine buys.

“From little luxuries to big investments, the nation sought out the things that would bring them happiness and provide entertainment at home. A trend recognised by an increasing number of retailers seeking to attract customers with fun ‘insperience’ services and products during the months of lockdown.

“Things that could have been left redundant as lockdown eased, have instead have made their way up the ranks to be deemed household must-haves that people didn’t know they needed. Many of the items bought have also encouraged people to take up new hobbies, but perhaps more importantly, were successful in making such an unusual period, that little bit more enjoyable.”