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Shoppers stay local, while households keep it casual

Smiling person standing in shop doorway
  • A third of UK adults made more purchases at local independent stores in 2020
  • A quarter of people spent less on grooming products in 2020
  • One in six UK adults cancelled a gym membership in 2020 – but one in 10 signed up for online fitness classes or subscription services
  • One in 10 households reduced the number of vehicles owned during 2020

UK adults revealed a taste for local shopping and casual clothes in 2020, while grooming products were shelved.

The latest How We Live study from Aviva, a new study of 6,000 UK adults, reveals how people’s consumer habits and buying behaviours changed in 2020.


of people shopped at more local independent stores

A third of people (33%) shopped at more local independent stores, while a fifth (21%) bought more items from charity / pre-used suppliers. Overall, almost a third of households (30%) bought fewer clothes and shoes for themselves and their families, while a similar number (29%) purchased more casual clothes rather than formal wear.

When it comes to groceries, one UK adult in 10 (10%) signed up to a food box subscription service in 2020, while almost a quarter of households grew some of their own food (24%).


of households grew some of their own food

Gyms appear to have taken a hit, with one in six people (16%) cancelling a membership in 2020, and a further 16% considering doing so in the future. More positively, there is evidence of a boom for online exercise services, with one in 10 (11%) saying they signed up to online classes / subscription services during 2020.

In addition, there are many more people who are considering making such changes, but have yet to take the plunge.

Aviva's study discovered:

Consumer behaviour in response to events of 2020

Percentage of UK adults who took this step in 2020

Percentage of UK adults who are considering taking this step

Shopping more often at local independent stores.



Reducing the number of items of clothing / shoes bought for self / family.



Buying casual / leisure wear rather than more formal / office clothing / shoes.



Buying / using fewer personal grooming products e.g. make-up, hair products etc.



Growing own food e.g. vegetables and fruit.



Buying more from charity shops / pre-used suppliers.



Signing up to / tried out a new TV subscription service.



Switching energy supplier.



Signing up to a food-box / meal subscription service.



Buying more tech items for home e.g. laptops, tablets, phones etc.



Cancelling a gym membership



Age variations

Many of these modified behaviours were fairly consistent across all age groups, but some actions were considerably more popular amongst younger consumers.

Under-25s were five times as likely to subscribe to food box / meal subscription services than over-55s (20% vs 4%), and twice as likely to take up a new TV subscription (28% vs 13%). Similarly, more than one in five under-25s (22%) joined online exercise classes or a fitness subscription, compared to just 4% of over-55s.

Photograph of Sarah Applegate, Head of Risk, Aviva General Insurance
Sarah Applegate, Head of Risk, Aviva General Insurance

Sarah Applegate, Head of Risk, Aviva General Insurance says: “Consumer behaviours underwent an overhaul in 2020 and we can expect some of these trends to continue, particularly as more businesses adopt models which allow for home working. This is likely to influence how many cars households own, the clothes people purchase and possibly even their personal grooming habits!

“If people make significant changes at home, such as selling a vehicle or building an extension to allow for home-working, we’d urge them to get in touch with their insurer to make sure their policies are up-to-date and their cover is suitable for their evolving lifestyles.”


Data source

Data relates to a survey of 6,028 randomly selected UK adults aged 16 and upwards, carried out by Censuswide Research on behalf of Aviva between 29 October and 12 November 2020.

Media enquiries

Sarah Poulter

Group External Communications

Notes to editors:

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