Coronavirus: What lockdown 'escapism' entertainment is costing Brits

·2 min read
Over a third of people have subscribed to a TV or movie streaming service during lockdown, according to a study. Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash
Over a third of people have subscribed to a TV or movie streaming service during lockdown, according to a study. Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash

More than a third of Brits have spent an extra £100 ($134) on entertainment as a form of “escapism” during the COVID-19 pandemic, research suggests.

The use of steaming services has skyrocketed, with three in five (56%) people spending extra on their subscriptions during lockdown, overall, according to a survey by Thinkmoney.

However, 35% have spent an extra £20 per month – £100 from March to November, the research found.

Almost a third (32%) said they have come to rely on their entertainment subscriptions as a form of escapism during the pandemic.

The survey, if extrapolated nationally, suggests that an additional £630m may have been spent on these services during the lockdown.

One in 20 people have spent more than £80 on their online subscriptions alone during lockdown – a minimum of £400 throughout the pandemic.

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Over a third (36%) of people said they have subscribed to a TV or movie streaming service, such as Netflix (NFLX), as a result of the lockdown.

Netflix has seen subscriber numbers surge, with a record 16 million new users in the first three months of 2020.

However, more than a quarter (27%) have been reading and buying more books, compared with just 7% who have subscribed to an audio provider, the research found.

The research also suggests parents could be relying on subscriptions more than ever, in order to keep their children entertained during lockdowns.

Three in five (61%) people aged 35 to 44 have spent the most on online subscriptions, the survey found.

Meanwhile, one in 10 have spent an extra £40 per month – £200 over the pandemic.

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Additionally, more women than men are spending extra time watching streaming services, with two in five (39%) women using their subscriptions more than ever, compared with less than a third (29%) of men.

This could be for several reasons, with pre-COVID studies showing that women account for more part-time jobs than men.

“Sadly, with UK job losses rising to a record rate in the three months leading up to August and, with part-time employees being some of the worst-hit, it could be that women are suffering more and, therefore, turning to their subscriptions,” Thinkmoney said.

Recent studies found women were less likely to be hired during peak lockdown than men.

About 36% of women have subscribed to TV streaming sites, compared with 34% of men, according to the survey.

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