For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

Lockdown Britain is a united nation. People are connecting more with friends, while also cooking, crafting and keeping fit, according to new Mintel research (conducted 26th March – 1st April 2020).

A united kingdom 

Three in 10 (27%) Brits say they have spent more quality time with their family/friends as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the latest research from Mintel. And it’s the younger generation who are most likely to be embracing this, with almost half (45%) of 16-24-year-olds in agreement. But not everyone has been in a position to enjoy the additional quality time, as just 11% of Brits aged 65+ say they have done so. 

Confirming that technology is at the heart of communication, four in 10 (38%) Brits say they have spent more time on video calls with family/friends. Not to be left behind on the technology front, more than a third (36%) of Brits aged 65+ have spent more time chatting on video calls.

And it seems the virus is bringing Brits together, as over one in 20 (6%) say they have been more involved with their local community, rising to a caring 9% of 16-24s.

Paul Davies, Mintel Leisure Category Director, said: 

“Young people usually have the busiest social lives so they have faced the most dramatic changes under the lockdown. Many have embraced the positives by enjoying more time with those they live with.

“Video technology is proving to be a lifeline for many Brits, in particular, the nation’s elderly, many of whom are self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, isolation and loneliness were major issues among older adults; social distancing is making these issues even greater. Technology can play a significant role in helping tackle these issues and it is clear that many more mature consumers are embracing it. Video calling services that allow group video ‘meetings’ have expanded beyond the business world and are now popular with consumers. Conducting group video chats, virtual house parties or quizzes with friends and family is likely to be a legacy that lasts well beyond COVID-19.”

A nation of fitness fanatics

Determined to stay fit during the lockdown, over a quarter (26%) of Brits have taken part in more home workouts including online classes, exercise bikes and yoga. While Brits aged 16-24 (39%) are among those most likely to be jumping, stretching and cycling through the crisis, one in seven (14%) Brits aged 65+ are embracing fitness from the comfort of their home. Additionally, almost a third (31%) of parents with children under 4 have stepped up their home exercise.

“With Brits spending the majority of their days at home, there has been an explosion of online fitness programmes, notably ‘The nation’s P.E. teacher’ Joe Wicks who has tailored workout programmes for toddlers through to seniors. These programmes have enabled Brits to maintain their fitness in the comfort of their homes while not risking contravening the social distancing rules.

“As consumers become more familiar with forms of exercise they can do at home using advanced online services such as Peloton and Fiit, some are likely to continue with these into the future. The shape of the health and fitness market may well have changed for good.” Paul continued. 

Brits channel their inner Jamie Oliver

From stock-piling, to running out of essentials, food has been high on the agenda for many Brits. Almost half (44%) of Brits have done more cooking since the start of the crisis, with those aged 25-34 (52%) most likely to have taken to their kitchens.

With what might seem like endless hours to fill, a quarter (25%) of Brits have spent more time on traditional pastimes including knitting and board games, with women (31%) and 16-24s (28%) most likely to be whiling away the hours with these pastimes. 

But for many Brits, the lockdown has triggered binge watching, as one in seven (15%) Brits have newly subscribed to a video streaming service (eg Netflix, Amazon Prime Video), a figure which more than doubles among those aged 16-24 (35%).

“More people working at home because of the lockdown means more time for home cooking, and there’s an inevitable tendency for people to try to eat as well as possible during a time of elevated fears over health and wellbeing. Jamie Oliver has launched his series ‘Keep Cooking and Carry On’ in response to the coronavirus, guiding Brits on cooking through the pandemic.” concluded Paul.