Lockdown Lifting to Signal Surge in Spending, Finds eBay Ads

New insights from eBay Ads UK reveal opportunities for brands to engage consumers from all walks of life as lockdown lifts – from partying pensioners to sun seekers, young and old

London, UK: Brands should anticipate a surge in spending over the coming weeks, as Monday’s lockdown lifting marks the start of a season of shopping for consumers – with interest in going out garments and holiday accessories set to soar amongst the old and the young.

That’s according to fresh new consumer research carried out by eBay Ads UK, which reveals that 20% of consumers surveyed have more disposable income compared to pre-pandemic and 69% already have a priority purchase in mind for when lockdown lifts – demonstrating a need for brands to ensure they’re engaging customers with the most relevant content well ahead of key lifting dates if they’re to win their share of spend.

Brits glam up to go “out out”

Clothing is set to be a key purchase for many consumers, with the research finding that one in five respondents (22%) plan on buying new clothes as a priority once lockdown lifts – meaning brands should be ready to reach out to a new wave of people looking for a fashion refresh. 

But shoppers won’t just be after any old attire. Supporting analysis of shopper behaviour on ebay.co.uk carried out by eBay Ads UK indicates that ‘going out’ getups will be the key focus for consumers as they ditch their joggers for new night-out outfits before pub gardens open this April. On 27th June 2020, a week before UK pubs reopened following the first lockdown, searches for ‘skinny jeans’ on the site jumped 47% compared to the day before, while searches for ‘hoop earrings’ and ‘fake eyelashes’ increased by 27% and 24% respectively in the same timeframe. 

Older generations ready to hit the pubs

The new research also reveals that older generations are just as keen to go out on the town as younger ones, so brands should ensure they’re engaging with a wide spectrum of people readying to party. While just over a quarter (26%) of 16-24-year-olds say they are most excited to go to a pub, bar or nightclub when the current lockdown lifts, this excitement is closely followed by that of the 55+ age group, with 23% reporting that this too would be their priority. 

Insights from eBay Ads UK also demonstrate that older generations were some of those most keenly prepping for a night out as lockdown lifted last year. On 27th June 2020, a week before pubs and bars first reopened, searches on ebay.co.uk for ‘high heels’ made by shoppers aged 55 and above surged 53% overnight, compared to a 29% uplift for shoppers aged 18-34. Meanwhile searches for ‘clutch bag’ made by shoppers aged 55 and over rose 55%, compared to a 53% increase amongst 18-34-year-olds.

Sun seekers get set for the jet set  

While some Brits are keen to hit the pubs and clubs, many are raring for a break. 38% of consumers surveyed say that post lockdown they are most excited to go on holiday – which comes second only to the excitement of seeing friends and family (40%). Once again older generations lead the way, with 43% of consumers aged 55 and over saying they were most excited to go on holiday when lockdown ends, compared to 30% of 16-24-year-olds. 

However, when it comes to preparing for trips away, the research found that the youngest generations are most likely to purchase holiday clothes and essentials. 21% of 16-24-year-olds and 18% of 25-34-year-olds surveyed say they are planning on purchasing holiday clothes as a priority when lockdown ends, compared to just 9% of those aged 55 and over. Meanwhile 12% of 16-24-year-olds are planning on buying holiday essentials, such as suitcases, compared to 3% of those aged 55 and over.

With shopper insights from eBay Ads also finding that searches in the ‘holidays and travel’ category on the site shot up 75% as travel corridors opened up in July 2020[1], it’s clear brands should be well prepared to cater to a boom in travel interest once restrictions lift. 

Harmony Murphy, GM Advertising UK at eBay, said: “We know that Brits are itching to start living their lives to the fullest as lockdown restrictions lift, and these insights demonstrate that brands need to ensure they’re engaging excited consumers with relevant products and content in advance of key moments – whether they want to go out on the town or go on holiday. But to make sure they’re putting their best foot forward, brands mustn’t forget to keep an open mind and tap into the freshest data to ensure they’re engaging with audiences that might be less predictable, but just as important. For instance, with the older generation on track to receive their first and second Covid-19 vaccinations within the coming weeks, brands would be wise to ensure they are not overlooking this important demographic longing to make the most of their newfound freedom.”


Consumer research was undertaken on behalf of eBay by Censuswide, with fieldwork conducted between 3rd and 5th March 2021. The survey sample was 1000 nationally representative UK respondents (Aged 16+). Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

Supporting data points from eBay Ads refer to search volume on ebay.co.uk.

About eBay Ads

eBay Ads is a trusted partner to some of the world’s biggest brands and sellers. Our innovative and transparent approach to data helps our partners understand their audience best. Leveraging more than 100 million user journeys every month, we humanise data at scale and create connections between our partners and our community.

[1] Figure refers to 75% uplift in searches on ebay.co.uk in July 2020 compared to the month before