Lockdown: who were the Winners and Losers?

Date Published: 23/07/2021 08:08

Some businesses have prospered during the pandemic - while others have undoubtedly struggled. Here, Future Life Wealth Management's director of operations, Keeley Woodcock, casts her critical eye over what we've learned... 

Bike Shops: 2020 was nicknamed the Year of the Bike as people endeavored to stay fit - and sane - during lockdowns.

With public transport often unreliable with increased risks of contracting COVID-19 putting people in close proximity to one another, key workers turned to bikes to get to work.

This meant that bike shops were classed as “essential” and enjoyed a consequent boom in sales. 

Pubs, Restaurants and Bars: The UK economy reduced by 9.9% in 2020 – the biggest fall since the Great Frost of 1709 – and nowhere was this felt more harshly than in the hospitality sector.

Brit’s vast “accidental savings” have been big news – and a considerable proportion of this came from not eating out, socialising or going to the pub.

Even now - with 'Freedom Day' behind us - many places are still struggling to re-open with so many staff having now left the hospitality sector. 

Pet Shops: A major challenge of lockdown for many people was loneliness.

Pet ownership has surged over the last 15 months, with 3.2m households getting a pet during lockdown.

59% of the new pet owners were under 35, with 74% of those surveyed by the Petfood Manufacturers’ Association saying getting a pet had helped their mental health. 

UK Tourism: For any business that relied on tourism 2020 was a desperately challenging year.

As country after country imposed restrictions, total visits to Britain fell by 76% from 2019 to 9.7m.

Total inbound spending dropped by 80% to £5.7bn and total domestic tourism was down 62% to £34.4bn. 

Boris Johnson has commented that travel will finally be ‘back to normal’ in 2022; let’s hope he’s right, hey! 

The UK Video Games Industry: Obviously you can’t be on Zoom or Microsoft Teams all of the time and - unable to go out during lockdown - huge numbers of the UK public turned to video games both for gaming and to connect with friends and family.

Overall, the UK games market was worth £7bn in 2020, up 30% from 2019, with hardware sales up 61% and software sales up 18%. 

The High Street: Deserted high streets up and down the UK meant that 2020 was the year when several household names – including Debenhams, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Laura Ashley – collapsed into administration.

The UK lost 11,000 shops in 2020 which was devastating and it is estimated that a further 18,000 might close this year.

You suspect that whatever initiatives are launched, the UK high street will never be the same again. 

To conclude: We could all make our own list of winners and losers...

Amazon and home-baked bread were clearly winners.

Cash – as we all paid with our phones – and a great many airlines were on the opposite side of the fence.

Moving forward, let’s hope we’ll soon be able to report comprehensively on the biggest winners of post-lockdown Britain.

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