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Games consoles were the UK’s most searched for pandemic product

Games consoles, hot tubs and Lego among the UK’s most searched for pandemic products

New figures from The Very Group reveals that games consoles – including PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch, were the most searched for non-food retail items since the start of the pandemic in the UK, as gamers raced to buy the latest launches and families looked to stay entertained while at home.

The online-only retailer has released a top twenty list of the most searched for products on Very.co.uk since the first national lockdown began on 23 March 2020.

While gaming took the top spot, it was closely followed in the search table by TVs and iPhones. Entertainment wasn’t the only thing on UK families’ minds during lockdown. Customers wanted items to keep themselves occupied in the garden too, with searches for garden furniture and trampolines at 13 and 14 respectively. They didn’t neglect the inside of their homes either, with curtains (6), wardrobe (11), vacuum (12) and wallpaper (18) also featuring in the table.

Unsurprisingly, staying fit during lockdown was a priority too. Nike trainers (5), smartwatches, including Apple Watch (10) and Fitbit (17); and treadmills (20) are all included in the most searched for items.

Lego’s enduring popularity, boosted by a range of product launches, also continued into lockdown. It reached number eight in the most searched for league table. L.O.L surprise toys – in 16th position – also continued their popularity.

Bubbling demand

There were some dramatic swings in search demand as soon as the pandemic struck. During the week of the first national lockdown announcement, searches referencing garden DIY terms surged 2,941 per cent compared to the week prior.

Meanwhile, searches referencing hot tubs – which reached number nine in the most searched list – increased by 663 per cent during the week of the first lockdown, compared with a week earlier.

And, throughout the pandemic, remote working remained an important theme as the Government urged the public to work from home if possible. Since 23 March 2020, searches relating to home office, such as ‘office’, ‘printer’ or ‘desk’, were up 186 per cent compared to the comparable period a year earlier. This demand saw laptops reach number four in the most searched list and desks reach number 15.

With hairdressers closed for much of the pandemic, many people have been channelling their inner stylist. Since the start of the first lockdown, searches relating to at home hairdressing, including terms like ‘clippers’ or ‘hair dye’, were up 551 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The Prime Minister’s ‘road map’ announcement on 22 February 2021, which outlined gradual plans to reopen the country, was another trigger for a change in search trends.

In the week immediately following the announcement, the nation turned its mind to children returning to school. Back to school related searches, including terms such as ‘school’ and ‘uniform’, surged 321 per cent, compared to the previous week and 136 per cent on the same week in 2020.

Sam Perkins, managing director – retail at The Very Group, said: “These results lay bare our pandemic priorities, as well as some interesting changes in what we’ve all been searching for.  In almost every case – from consoles and hot tubs to TVs and garden furniture – we’ve been looking for things to improve the stay-at-home experience during lockdown.

“When you mix two huge and highly anticipated console launches with a nation that’s stuck indoors, gaming was always likely to top the table. However, some trends are perhaps more surprising, like the dramatic upturn in appetite for hot tubs or the sudden increase in searches for curtains.

“But it can all turn on one announcement, just as we saw on 22 February 2021. Suddenly, UK families focused on back to school and have now turned an eye to what they’ll wear when they finally do get to socialise with friends.

“Following the successful vaccine rollout and the gradual lifting of restrictions up to the summer, we expect search and buying patterns to begin returning to their pre-pandemic norms, which will likely benefit fashion, in particular, with more of us socialising.”

Top 20 most searched for items on Very.co.uk from 23 March 2020 to 26 February 2021

  1. Games console
  2. TV
  3. iPhone
  4. Laptop
  5. Nike trainers
  6. Curtains
  7. iPad
  8. Lego
  9. Hot tub
  10. Apple watch
  11. Wardrobe
  12. Vacuum cleaner
  13. Garden furniture
  14. Trampoline
  15. Desk
  16. L.O.L Surprise
  17. Fitbit
  18. Wallpaper
  19. Airpods
  20. Treadmill

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