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Brand-a-Lust: Revealing The UK’s Top Lockdown Brands

Written by Salman Haqqi, Senior Personal Finance Writer

16 June 2020

From loungewear to luxury labels; the UK’s high street shutdown has changed our shopping habits forever.

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The way we shop, eat, dress and behave has changed drastically over the last three months. Polls by YouGov have revealed that groceries, clothing and beauty products have been the top purchases, with many of us spending significantly more in these areas. 

In fact, the ONS reports that £1 in every £3 spent during lockdown has been online (up from £1 in every £5 just a year ago), making the virtual high street more popular than ever.  

As non-essential shops slowly begin to reopen their doors, we’ve taken a look at the brands we’ve been most interested in while we’ve all been stuck at home and what brands we’re planning to splurge on after lockdown ends. 

Taking the UK’s top brands from YouGov’s consumer popularity ratings*, we’ve discovered the ones we’ve been lusting after the most, by applying Google Trends** and Google Search Volume*** data for 1st April 2020 to 31st May 2020 (and the results are not what you might expect).    

Back in February, Vogue Business reported that Coronavirus (COVID-19) could cause a €40bn decline in luxury sales, but that hasn’t stopped us longing for those luxe labels in lockdown. In fact, there have been twice as many web searches (102%) for the top 10 brands when compared to pre-lockdown levels. 

High-end perfume, cosmetics and skincare brand Guerlain tops the list, with over thrice (233%) the number of people searching for the French luxury label during lockdown, with the majority living in Edinburgh. 

Replacing Wanderlust with Brand-a-Lust

Data published by Pitchup reveals that one camping staycation was booked every three seconds during a peak last week. But which travel brands have we been longing for during lockdown?  

Four out of the top 10 brands are British holiday park brands, including Hoseasons, Haven, Center Parcs and Butlins.  With affordable seaside resort Butlins topping the list with 186% more searches during lockdown. 

The Caravan and Motorhome Club, P&O Ferries and Brittany Ferries are all in the top 10 most searched for holiday brands as people look for alternatives to flying.

Budget foreign holiday brand Jet2Holidays had 178% more searches during lockdown, with the most of those in Leeds, as holidaymakers start looking for post-lockdown deals.

Just two luxury brands made the top 10, James Villa Holidays and Sandals Resorts, with the most searches in Manchester and Peterborough.  

From Nandos to Greggs, we’ve discovered the food brands we can’t wait to visit once lockdown is lifted. KFC tops the list with a whopping 527% increase and fried chicken fans in Wolverhampton make the most of these searches.  

Grouping the top 10 food brands reveals a 299% increase, featuring high street favourites such as Wagamama’s, Starbucks and Nandos.  

The nation’s top lockdown snack brands

If lockdown has been leading to more trips to the fridge then you might have been reaching for some of these brands. 

People in Bristol have been digging the dairy and snacking on Yeo Valley yoghurts the most - this British family-owned brand topped the list as the most searched during lockdown with a 223% search increase. 

The top scoring brands include cooling Cornetto ice creams, crunchy Nature Valley granola bars and protein-packed Babybel cheese and the top 10 saw a 150% increase in searches. 

Virtual cocktail and mocktail hours

With pubs and bars closed across the UK, virtual drinks have become the norm for many of us looking to keep our social lives active during lockdown. But what brands have we been enjoying the most from the comfort of our couch? 

Retro brands appear to have made a comeback, Babycham, Hooch and WKD are amongst the most searched lockdown drinks, experiencing three times as many searches (217%) than before the shut down. 

When it comes to alcohol-free options, it seems we’ve been enjoying fizzy Fanta the most. This orange flavoured fizzy drink topped the list with a 325% uptick in searches when compared to pre-lockdown levels. 

Health and beauty searches surge in lockdown

With beauty salons and hairdressers closed, we’ve had no choice but to tackle our own beauty regimes from top-to-toe with our report revealing the brands we’ve been most interested in overall. 

During lockdown, the most popular 10 brands experienced 83% more search interest and featured popular household named brands such as The Body Shop, Vaseline and Radox. Topping the list is German-owned skin and suncare brand Nivea with 132% more searches during lockdown than before.  

Looking good in lockdown

Despite the nation staying at home, a third of us (29%) report spending more than usual on clothes, according to YouGov. Overall, clothing brands experienced 83% more searches during lockdown than the period before it, including high-street stalwarts Schuh, New Look and Primark.   

Out of all the top fashion and clothing brands, it was retail park favourite Matalan that topped the list, with a 257% increase, making it the most sought-after clothing shop in the UK with shoppers in Bradford making the most searches.

Leading DIY and interior design brands

With more spare time on our hands than ever before, Brits have been making a beeline for the leading homeware and interior design brands, with Furniture Village topping the list as the most-searched brand. The independent furniture shop had 307% more searches during lockdown than before.  

Resist post-lockdown over-spending sprees with our top tips

Commenting on the results of the Brand-a-Lust report, money.co.uk’s personal finance expert Salman Haqqi, explained why we need to be careful of overspending when non-essential shops open their doors this week he said: 

“With non-essential shops slowly beginning to reopen their doors to the general public, it might be tempting to head out and splash the cash on some of our favourite brands to celebrate. However it’s worth making sure that you are getting the best deal possible and sticking to a budget, no matter how enticing the prices may look.

“The novelty of visiting a bricks and mortar store is appealing, but it’s likely that better deals and lower prices can still be found online. Try visiting the virtual high street first to do your research, before you head out onto the physical high street; especially if you’re using a credit card to fund your purchases.”   

But if you’re still feeling the urge to go out on a spending spree, our personal finance specialist Salman Haqqi explains how you can make your credit card work harder for you:

Use a rewards credit card

Credit card reward programmes help you earn incentives every time you buy services or goods using your card. For example, you could earn points for every pound you spend on your card, which you can then exchange for shopping vouchers later. 

The points you get depends on the card so it is worth shopping around to find the best deal by comparing rewards credit cards to help you make the right decision. 

Use a cash back credit card

If you like to pay off your credit card balance every month, a cashback credit card could be a good choice, as you’ll be able to get the most back from your spending. 

Cashback cards work like a traditional credit card, but they also reward you by paying back a percentage of what you spend on the card. Depending on the card you choose, cashback can be paid monthly or annually, usually crediting the full amount to the balance on your statement. 

As some cashback credit card providers charge a fee, it is worth comparing different cashback credit cards together to see how the fee-charging and non-fee charging cards compare. 

Improve your credit rating as you spend with a credit building credit card

If you’re looking for a way to improve your credit rating, a credit builder card could be the best option for you. By spending and then repaying what you’ve borrowed on this type of card, it’s possible to make gradual improvements to your credit file over several months. 

As credit limits are usually lower on these cards, you might want to choose a card that matches your spending habits. Take a look here and find out how you can get a credit card if you want to improve bad credit.  

Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards

Compare credit cards

Methodology and data sources: 

Starting with seed lists* from YouGov’s consumer popularity ratings, we analysed Google Trends search data between 1st April 2020 to 31st May 2020 and recorded the overall increase/decrease between those two dates to show how many people were interested in the brand during the lockdown period.   

Seed List Sources:

*Food and Dining Brands: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/food/popularity/dining-brands/all 

*Snack Brands: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/food/popularity/food-snack-brands/all 

*Luxury Brands: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/consumer/popularity/luxury-brands/all

*Health and Beauty: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/health/fame/health-beauty-brands/all 

*Fashion and Clothing: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/consumer/popularity/fashion-clothing-brands/all 

*High Street and Home: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/consumer/popularity/department-home-stores/all 

*Alcoholic Drinks: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/food/popularity/alcohol-brands/all 

*Soft Drinks: https://yougov.co.uk/ratings/food/popularity/beverages/all

Google Data Sources: 

**Google Trends: https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US 

***Google Keyword Planner: https://ads.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/

All data correct as of 11th June 2020

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