Brits turn self-isolation into self-improvement - with three-fifths investing in themselves during lockdown

POSTED: 3rd September 2020
IN: Newsroom
  • Three in five (57%) UK adults invested time and/or money in self-improvement initiatives during the lockdown period. This rose to three quarters (77%) among Millennials and Generation Z (18 to 34 year olds)
  • UK adults spent £211 on average on self-improvement during lockdown, with one in twenty (5%) spending over £500
  • The most popular activities included learning to cook, exercising and learning a new language
  • Londoners spent the most on improving themselves of all the UK regions at £389

New research1 from Aldermore Bank has revealed that during the lockdown period, nearly three-fifths (57%) of UK adults invested time and money in themselves to improve their health and learn new skills for fun and for career progression. The research found the average amount people spent on self-improvement during the three months of lockdown was £211, with 35-54 year olds spending the most at £318, more than double that of the younger generation (£129).

Exercise is a top priority

As the lockdown period restricted much of our normal daily activities, exercise was shown to be a priority for many, with nearly a quarter (23%) increasing the amount they exercise per week. With gyms and other facilities closed during lockdown nearly one in ten (8%) purchased gym or exercise equipment for home workouts, with this figure doubling among 18-34 year olds (16%).

The opportunity to learn a new skill

The lockdown created opportunities to learn something new which people might have found a time commitment struggle pre-lockdown. Unsurprisingly, cooking was a popular choice across the UK, with one in five (19%) learning to expand their cooking or baking repertoires. A further one in ten (10%) focused on learning new skills such as taking art and writing classes or doing some DIY. 

In addition, nearly one in ten (9%) UK adults decided to spend their time and money learning a new language. This was particularly popular among younger people, with nearly one in five (17%) 18 to 34 year olds committing to learning a new language.

Millennials and Generation Z lead way in self-improvement

Three in four (77%) 18 to 34 year olds focused on self-improvement during the lockdown period, compared to three in five (58%) 35 to 54 year olds and two in five among the 50+ (41%). Learning to cook (29%) or committing to more exercise (28%) proved the most popular with nearly a third among 18 to 34 year olds taking up these activities.   

Boosting employability prospects

Many used the lockdown period to enhance their employability prospects with nearly one in ten (7%) signing up for courses aimed to develop skills in their current work sector, with an additional one in twenty (5%) undertaking courses for a new work sector. Furthermore, 6% of people applied for various educational courses including NVQs and the Open University.

Career progression was particularly strong in the minds of 18 to 34 year olds with one in four (26%) seeking training in their current work sector or a new work sector. A further one in six (15%) looked at becoming more tech-savvy for work and one in seven (13%) applied for a professional qualification or course.

Londoners lead the way on self-improvement

Londoners spent an average of £389 on investing in themselves during lockdown, the highest of all UK regions. Those living in the UK capital were also more likely to begin learning a language (20%) or an instrument (14%) and were more likely to sign up to a course to retrain (15%) compared to the national average of 5%.

Ewan Edwards, director of savings, Aldermore said:

“The huge shake-up in our routines caused by lockdown has given people time to reflect on their life goals and clearly many have turned this new focus into action. Investing in yourself can be a very rewarding process and it is great to see so many take positive steps towards enhancing their employability prospects or upskilling themselves during this difficult time.

“As the data conveys, realising future hopes and ambitions are sometimes costly for people so regular contributions into a savings pot can be vital to get these goals off the ground when the sudden opportunity arises. Flexible easy access accounts provide the perfect vehicle to avoid a ‘savings lockdown’, compared to using fixed term options, so people can financially back themselves immediately to pursue a new work or life ambition.”


Notes to editors:

1Research conducted by Opinium in July 2020, with a nationally representative sample size of 2,000 UK adults.


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