Purchasing patterns among UK consumers are beginning to shift as shoppers modify their buying habits in response to the cost of living crisis, according to latest trends seen by OnBuy. Up-to-date market statistics show that Britons are preparing for the economically rocky months ahead by making shrewd purchases that will help them combat surging energy bills.
Data from online marketplace OnBuy shows sales of products that could provide long-term savings, like radiator reflectors, draught excluders and air fryers, have soared by thousands of per cent. According to the OnBuy CEO, Cas Paton, the trend is evidence of an ever-increasingly knowledgeable consumer in Britain, who is preparing for the cold months ahead with smart purchases.
Other items that have seen drastic sales increases, such as household insulation, work to keep heat within the home, therefore resulting in reduced energy usage.
This growing trend, according to Cas, is understandably emerging in response to the ongoing cost of living and energy crises, which have resulted in record-breakingly austere financial forecasts. A typical household energy bill is expected to rise to £2,500 per year from the 1st of October.
As a nation, we are going to feel the effects of ongoing crises on energy and cost of living this year, with energy bills going up within the next week and inflation expected to increase even further.
In response to these crises, we are seeing some quite remarkable consumer trends, as it’s becoming increasingly clear that shoppers are shifting their purchasing habits in response to the economic outlook. We are seeing drastic increases in the sales of items that work to reduce energy usage, such as household insulation and radiator reflectors, which both help keep heat inside the home.
Ultimately, what this tells us is that the British buyer is becoming an increasingly savvy spender. This is a surprising, unprecedented, and frankly fascinating development, which lays bare the ever-evolving nature of consumer trends.”– Cas Paton, CEO, OnBuy
According to Cas, the trend began almost a year ago, with OnBuy sales data from November 2021 to January 2022 showing that convector heaters, which run on electric, and indoor butane-powered heaters, were among the top sellers over the period.
However, the economic landscape has worsened considerably since then and increased energy bills, along with weekly headlines about crises in energy and cost of living, have resulted in more consumers adopting new spending habits.
Data from this month shows sales of clothes dryers and airers soaring by more than 6000%, as households avoid energy-guzzling tumble dryers, while sales of electric blankets have skyrocketed by up to 1,350%. According to MoneySavingExpert it costs roughly 3p an hour to run an electric blanket, meaning that average weekly usage would add up to just £1.47 – making them a cost-efficient alternative to central heating.
Elsewhere, air fryers, which can operate at half the energy usage of an oven have seen a staggering surge in sales this year, with OnBuy data showing an 800% increase for some models in September.
Meanwhile, over the course of a single week in August, sales of household insulation increased 1200%. While the surge could appear as an anomaly, it makes more sense in light of expert insight around energy usage. According to Northern Energy, poor wall insulation accounts for 35-45%* of heat lost in the home – resulting in lost energy and wasted money. Elsewhere, experts believe around 25% of a home’s heat is lost through lofts and attics, a loss that can be mitigated with good insulation.
Purchases as we’ve seen over the past year, and especially within the past few months, clearly represent a financial commitment, however, consumers appear to be telling us that they believe these expenditures will pay off long-term. They might just be on to something!– Cas Paton, CEO, OnBuy