Hot tubs, exercise bikes and gaming equipment: Lockdown purchases sparking buyers’ regret, study finds

·2-min read
 (Shutterstock / Josep Suria)
(Shutterstock / Josep Suria)

Despite the fact that many people invested in unusual items to help them through lockdowns, a new study has found that those purchases have now sparked regret among shoppers.

According to the How We Live report, conducted by Aviva, UK households spent more than £6.6 billion on purchases during the pandemic that they no longer use.

The most commonly regretted purchases were gaming equipment (45 per cent), tools and carpentry equipment (43 per cent) and home gym equipment (39 per cent).

Additional items found to be going to waste include pizza ovens (37 per cent), hot tubs (36 per cent) and garden furniture (32 per cent).

The researchers questioned more than 4,000 adults for the study, which found that one in 20 people had purchased a hot tub during lockdown.

Additionally, more than a quarter of those who bought bicycles during lockdown wished they hadn’t.

As for what fueled this surge in consumption during lockdown, social media might have played a part.

“I was one of those people who joined TikTok during the first lockdown and became heavily influenced by it’s cult product videos,” says The Independent’s Laura Hampson.

“The hairbrush-come-hairdryer? I’ve got it. Clinique’s Almost Lipstick? It went straight in my shopping cart. Admittedly, the latter is still a staple in my makeup bag a year and a half later, but I can’t recall the last time I used the Revlon hair dryer.”

Other reasons people might have bought items in lockdown they otherwise would have avoided include pure boredom.

Nicola Charles, managing director of retail at the insurer Aviva, which conducted the research, commented: “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.”

The full list of items people regret purchasing the most are below:

The most regretted purchases made during the pandemic:

  • Gaming equipment 45 per cent

  • Tools/carpentry equipment 43 per cent

  • Clothes or shoes 43 per cent

  • Home gym equipment 39 per cent

  • Musical instruments 37 per cent

  • Pizza oven 37 per cent

  • Hot tub/jacuzzi 36 per cent

  • Equipment for a sports hobby, such as fishing or golf 34 per cent

  • Scooter 32 per cent

  • Garden furniture 32 per cent

  • Jewellery 32 per cent

  • Kitchen appliance e.g. air-fryer, bread-maker 31 per cent

  • Voice-activated assistant 31 per cent

  • Smartphone/tablet 30 per cent

  • TV 30 per cent

  • Hobby equipment, such as arts and crafts materials 30 per cent

  • Computer equipment for personal use 28 per cent

  • Bicycle 27 per cent

You can view the study in full here.

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