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Coronavirus Spending Habits Highlighted in Report from eBay

05 June 2020 - 09:12 by Simon Crisp

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Online auction site eBay has published a study that drills down into the spending habits and trends which influenced UK consumers’ buying decisions on a week-by-week basis since the national lockdown was introduced in late March this year.

In the first week following the 23rd of March, when stringent limits on physical store openings were put in place, the number of people using eBay to search for food and drink products more than quadrupled compared to levels that would be expected for the time of year.

There was a 633 per cent rise in searches for cat food, while a 467 per cent rise in users looking to buy dog food via safe shopping online was also recorded, according to Internet Retailing.

Even more significant were the leaps in searches for home exercise equipment, with 10 times the number of searchers for strength training and weights seen in the seven days following the start of lockdown.

The next week saw searches for jigsaw puzzles and other games designed to occupy people while stuck at home increase by over 800 per cent, while in the third week people also prepared to cut their own hair, with a 1566 per cent rise in searches for clipping and trimming devices.

By week four of the lockdown, DIY was a common theme across the country, with paint proving a particularly popular search term, earning an 825 per cent annual increase in queries. Another trend that emerged at this point was one for bikes and cycling equipment, with searches doubling for outdoor items, while indoor training kit related to this hobby got a healthy 873 per cent uptick in interest.

The rapid pace with which the pandemic’s impact evolved and changed is reflected in these consumer spending habits, and it will be interesting to see how the ongoing easing of lockdown impacts searches.