Lockdown Brits splash out on second room TVs, binge on Blu-rays

The demand on British households to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a massive rise in TV sales, according to market research outfit GfK. But buyers are largely eschewing high-price largescreens, with many instead stocking up on TVs below 42in.

In the week March 15-March 21, TV sales jumped by a massive 59.5% in volume compared to the same week in 2019. By value the rise was 43.3%. This is despite Summer sporting events including the Olympics and Euro 2020 – traditional drivers of TV sales – being postponed.

Kelly Whitwick, GfK's UK Retail Lead for Market Insights reveals the average price point of TV sales was the lowest it has been this year. 'This suggests people are buying basic models for practical solutions, rather than splashing out to enhance the viewing experience.'

Adds Whitwick: 'Basically, people are facing having their entire household at home every day; possibly with the need to keep distance from each other, and almost certainly with very different views on what they want to watch – so they are quickly buying an extra TV to spread out around the house.'

Meanwhile, figures covering the whole of the UK reveal the coronavirus pandemic has caused a growth in DVD and Blu-ray watching, while premium sports viewing is naturally tailing off.

In the week beginning March 9, the percentage of viewers 'frequently watching DVDs or Blu-ray' reached 11 per cent, compared to 5 per cent the week before, while those accessing premium TV packages – such as Sky Sports, says GfK – fell from 24 per cent to 20 per cent. Download-to-own content also saw a rise in viewing from 4 per cent to 9 per cent.

'Given the lack of live sports content available to view at the moment, we anticipate further drops in those accessing premium sport services in the coming weeks,' says Sam Tuck, Associate Director of Consumer Insights at GfK. 'Instead, we expect a rise in people signing up to video-on-demand platforms – albeit potentially only on a short-term or trial basis. Whether this will have a long-term benefit for the services, with people retaining subscriptions at the end of their trials, is something we will be tracking.'