22 Mar 2021

A year of lockdown in numbers as Britain spends over £700 a month on living best life indoors

  • Research from Nationwide reveals Brits spent £8,465 on entertainment at home
  • National poll comes as UK marks a year of lockdown measures on March 24
  • Amazon, clothes, takeaways, and DIY ranked in league table of spend
  • Eats and treats offset as Brits exercise more and keep in touch with friends & family

A year of lockdown has seen Brits living their best lives indoors as new research shows how time and money has been spent to keep ourselves entertained.

The survey1 of more than 2,000 people was commissioned by Nationwide Building Society to understand how much money people have spent on cheering themselves up while largely confined indoors.

On average, people have spent a staggering £8,465 since March 23, 2020 on treating themselves – equivalent to over £700 a month, according to the UK-wide poll.

Findings show the average Brit has received 260 deliveries to their door in the past 12 months – equating to five a week and has eaten 191 takeaways – just over three each week. On average, we have watched a total of ten boxsets and television series.

However, some 12 per cent of people have received ten or more deliveries per week – equating to 520 since the first lockdown – while 13 per cent have ordered a takeaway seven or more times a week. Three in ten (31%) have watched 20 or more boxsets and television series since lockdown began.

All this entertainment at home has led to significant spend, the poll highlights:

Spend category over the last year

Weekly spend

Spend since March 23, 2020







Takeaways (includes breakfast, lunches, dinners)



Home improvements



Technology (computers, games, gadgets)



Subscription services (e.g. Sky, Netflix, Spotify)






Exercise equipment





Total: £8,465

Regionally, there are major variations on how much has been spent by people treating themselves in lockdown over the last 12 months.

Total Regional spend over the last year


Greater London


West Midlands




Yorkshire and the Humber


East of England


North East


North West


East Midlands


Northern Ireland




South East


South West


 The additional spend is backed by Nationwide’s own customer data, which shows that while overall debit card volumes remained flat in 2020 compared to 2019, spend was up 15 per cent. And demonstrating the impact of online purchases in lockdown, year on year digital wallet volumes increased by 10 per cent and the value by 50 per cent.

 Sofa day to leg day:

In a bid to offset some of those takeaways, it is perhaps reassuring that the average person has exercised 312 times in the year (6 times a week) and has walked the same route 208 times (four times a week). All this may account for why the average Brit has shed 6.5lbs in lockdown, with men losing slightly more than women (6.63lbs vs 6.31lbs). Regionally, Londoners have lost the least and those in Scotland the most (5.1lbs vs 7.5lbs).

 Keeping in touch with loved ones:

On average, Brits video conferenced friends and family 156 times, or three times a week, since March 23 last year.

Biggest Treat during lockdown:

With the time Brits have saved on commuting (down 18.52 mins per week on average), many have spent more time doing the things they love compared to 2019, in particular cooking (up 4.94 mins per week) and baking (up 11.29 mins per week), watching television - including series, boxsets (up 7.01 mins per week) and films (up 9.48 mins per week) and new hobbies (up 9.39 mins per week).

And while lockdown may not have presented too many opportunities to treat ourselves, almost a fifth (18%) of Brits said spending quality time with the people in their household – for example playing board games – to be the biggest treat during lockdown. A further 15 per cent said finding a new favourite boxset or TV series was their biggest treat, while 13 per cent say it was ordering from their favourite takeaway. More than one in ten (11%) opted for going on a socially distanced walk with a friend or cooking their favourite home-cooked meal. Six per cent said they like to order clothes from their favourite clothing brand.

Mark Nalder, Head of Payments at Nationwide Building Society, said: "Lockdown is in some ways an enormous study in how we spend our time and money. Over the past year, many of us have invested in ourselves – whether through new or existing hobbies, entertaining ourselves or getting round to fixing that wonky shelf!

“As one of the UK’s largest high street financial services providers and as a member-owned organisation, we’re keen to understand how people are spending today but also tomorrow. As we emerge from lockdown, we may experience a flurry of spending. While we’ll all thoroughly deserve it, we’d always remind people of the need to budget and, where possible, to try and put some money away each month.”

Notes to editors

  • 1 Research carried out by Censuswide between 19/02/2021 and 22/02/2021 among a panel of 2,013 national representative UK respondents. Spend category over the last year is worked out by multiplying the weekly mean by 52. To work out the mean N/A options were assigned a 0.