As energy bills are set to soar this winter, UK consumers are prioritising finding other ways to keep warm in the coming weeks and months.
That’s according to the latest research from eBay Ads, which finds that 37% of consumers are planning to make purchases to help prepare for longer periods without heating due to the rising cost of energy bills. The research, which surveyed 1,000 UK respondents, found that a quarter (25%) of people are looking to buy items to keep them warm, and a fifth (18%) are planning to buy items to make their homes more energy efficient.
Insights from eBay Ads show that purchases of this type typically ramp up at the start of autumn – for example, in October 2021 searches for ‘heated blanket’ on eBay UK increased 147% compared to the month before, and searches for ‘hot water bottle’ and ‘loft insulation’ rose 121% and 80% respectively in the same timeframe.
However, as bills have continued to soar this year, preparing for the cold weather seems to have been on consumers’ minds much earlier. Indeed, in July 2022 searches for ‘heated blanket’ were 132% higher than they were in July 2021, as were searches for ‘loft insulation’ – up 37% in July compared to last year.
Hunkering down at home to save money
Soaring prices are also impacting wider consumer behaviour, with 58% of consumers reporting that they will be watching their spending carefully this winter due to the rising cost of living. More than a third (36%) said they are planning to socialise at home more as a way to save money this winter, and half (49%) plan to dine at home more for the same reason.
Searches for ‘dinner set’ jumped 61% in October last year compared to the month before, as did searches for ‘wine glass’ and ‘carafe’, increasing 47% and 40% respectively in the same timeframe. And with Brits reporting that they will be staying at home more this winter than they have previously, it could be that interest will ramp up even higher in the coming weeks.
Beyond socialising, more than a quarter (28%) of consumers said that this winter they’re planning to make purchases to make their home as nice a place as possible to spend time, and more than one in five (21%) are planning to buy items to make their home more comfortable and cosy.
Shoppers’ priorities this season
For retailers and sellers looking to tap into consumer shopping behaviours this season, it’s clear that value for money – such as deals and budget items – should be top of the list. And as previously reported by eBay Ads, second hand items continue to be a focus for consumers as a means to save money. Consumers reported that their overall purchasing priorities this season are:
- Sales / deals (32%)
- Budget items (28%)
- Good quality items that will last (28%)
- Second-hand items (20%)
- Price-locked products (17%)
It’s clear that the rising cost-of-living is going to significantly impact consumer behaviour this winter, as people are looking to find new ways to make ends meet. Keeping warm and nesting at home are set to be key focuses for consumers in the coming weeks and months, along with looking for products that will provide better value for money. Brands and sellers alike should ensure their offerings align with these mindsets in order to support customers and their evolving needs, and to allow for a successful festive season.– Upasana Gupta, GM, eBay Ads UK