While the UK lockdown didn’t begin until March 23, many consumers were already working from home or self-isolating by the start of March. Meanwhile Sweden is still not pursuing a lockdown policy, instead favouring a herd-immunity approach. 

By comparing the two countries we can see revenue growth in the home and leisure category is closely aligned throughout February, followed by a significant divergence at the start of March. This may show that the lockdown has encouraged UK consumers to look to home improvement as a way of passing the time, and as a result DIY stores are reporting record sales.

This trend is much more pronounced in our Retail (online activity) dataset which bears out with many of the biggest UK DIY retail stores remaining open for click and collect only. But the trend also holds on the pureplay e-commerce dataset, indicating that this isn’t just a surge in DIY but general home improvement: houseplants, homeware, home office etc.

With UK consumers facing at least another month of lockdown, many are taking the time to improve their living space, whether that’s much needed DIY, new houseplants or home office equipment for working from home.