Three quarters of UK adults had major plans cancelled in 2020 totalling approx. £52bn in refunds

POSTED: 20th November 2020
IN: Newsroom
  • Three quarters (73%) of UK adults have had major plans cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the most common cancellations being different types of holidays and breaks: holiday abroad (37%), weekend break or trip (29%), and a UK holiday (27%)
  • The largest impact on Brits was refunds from holidays abroad, with 62% of these being refunded, with the average refund being £1,172, extrapolated to the entire population this totalled £23.1bn
  • Two fifths (38%) of those that have received moneyback put the whole refund into their saving accounts, with an additional 15% putting at least some of the refund into savings
  • Other common cancellations included concerts (19%), sporting events (13%), and hosting parties (13%)

 New research from Aldermore bank1 reveals the significant social impact on Brits from the cancellation of major plans in 2020 due to the pandemic. The large scale of refunds means that in total £51.7bn has been received back due to major plans not going ahead.  

The most common cancellation for Brits was from holidays, with refunds received from planned holidays abroad totalling £23.1bn, £7.1bn for UK-based holidays, and £6.8bn given back for weekend breaks and trips. Unsurprisingly, due to social distancing measures, the events industry has also been heavily hit, with cancelled sporting events leading to £3.9bn in refunds, cancelled concerts causing £2.3bn in reimbursements and festivals £2.4bn.

Saving is a top priority with pandemic refunds

Two fifths (38%) of those that have received money back from cancelled events put the whole refund into their savings, with an additional 15% putting at least some of the refund into savings. Over 55s were most focused on saving with half (48%) putting all their refund into their savings, compared to only a third (33%) of 18 to 34 years olds that did so.

Other uses of refunds included putting it towards a holiday abroad next year (15%), for Christmas spending money (13%), for a UK break (12%) or spending it to treat themselves (10%).

Ewan Edwards, director of savings at Aldermore, said: It has been a lost year of many of our best laid plans, and the continuous cancellation and delays to trips and big events in people’s lives has been a deflating experience in 2020. Encouragingly the data shows that many Brits are turning disappointment into opportunity, by putting their refunds into savings for the future. Products like notice period and limited access savings accounts are perfect vehicles for delayed plans. They allow people to put money away at a rate better than easy access accounts, but also provide flexibility so people can get their funds for when that delayed holiday or trip comes around in 2021.”  


Notes to editors

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

749 out of 2,000 have had a cancelled wedding, with the average refund being £1,172. 749 / 2002 * £1,172 = £23,107,915,293 = £23.1 billion. A similar calculation was continued was conducted for all of the cancelled events, which total £51.7 billion.

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