It is unprecedented for so many of us to spend this much time at home. The sudden change in routine has challenged us to occupy ourselves when our opportunities for socialising have become seriously limited. Take to Instagram and you’ll see cakes being baked, books being read and Netflix being watched – but is this a true representation of how Britons have spent their time inside?

Well, in some cases, yes. One in five of us say that we have spent more money on books in the last 10 weeks than we did previously. This trend was documented soon after lockdown was announced and suggests that Britons quickly rediscovered a love of reading that they had perhaps forgotten. Whether or not those books have actually been read, however, is another matter…

In other areas of ‘self-improvement’ (anything which makes you feel better afterwards counts), TV shows centred around activities have benefitted from the lockdown. These include crafting, cooking and art shows, which encourage those at home to get active and have all risen in popularity during the last couple of months; The Great British Sewing Bee attracts up to 6 million viewers per episode. This again suggests that people have decided now is the time to make a mask, order some new paint brushes, or create the ultimate soufflé.

Finally, if we look at Google Trends, we see that the learning doesn’t end there. Searches for ‘learn a language’ increased steeply after Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement in March, and have remained at higher levels than in the nine months prior. Searches for ‘online courses’ have followed a similar pattern. Admittedly, this does not tell us if people have followed through with these ideas, but it does illustrate that we have a desire to learn and have tried to use this time to benefit our future selves.

This desire to learn presents brands with an opportunity to assist us and build an even closer relationship between brand and consumer. Cookalongs are one such way this could be done – various Instagram accounts have run these successfully. Advertisers should consider how they can help us on our journey of self-improvement, or reassure us that it is perfectly OK not to have done any of the above – how often do you eat soufflé anyway?

How are Brits spending money during COVID-19? https://yougov.co.uk/topics/consumer/articles-reports/2020/06/04/how-are-brits-spending-money-during-covid-19

Book Sales Surge as Self-isolating Readers Stock up on ‘Bucket List’ Novels https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/25/book-sales-surge-self-isolating-readers-bucket-list-novels

Lockdown TV: What habits will stick as we leave lockdown? https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/lockdown-tv-what-habits-will-stick-we-leave-lockdown

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