Appetites for takeaways, TV and TikTok surge during lockdown 2021

New TouchPoints data reveals how the latest national lockdown affected our lifestyles, media choices and communication habits.

45% more people got takeaways and spent 17% more time watching TV in lockdown 2021 than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, while the amount of 15-24s using TikTok surged by 212%.

These are just some of the core findings from the IPA TouchPoints 2021 data, released today, that highlight the ways in which the latest (2021) national lockdown affected the lifestyles, media choices and communication habits of GB consumers between now, the first lockdown (2020) and pre-lockdown 2020.*

Today marks the 15th anniversary of TouchPoints, the IPA's unique, consumer-centric, cross-media, cross-device database. Case studies and highlights from industry luminaries were shared at a launch event this morningRead more about 15 years of TouchPoints.

Eating habits in lockdown

According to the comprehensive TouchPoints dataset, the amount of people getting takeaways or food deliveries during the first lockdown in 2020 rose by 5.5% versus pre-lockdown 2020 (14,5% to 15.3%). This figure, however, surged by 45% in lockdown 2021 vs pre-lockdown 2020 (15.3% to 21%), revealing that consumers increasingly turned to takeaways in lockdown 2021.

When looking at the 15-24s age bracket, this trend is echoed. The number of 15-24s getting takeaways during the first lockdown rose by 11.4% versus pre-COVID 2020 (21.9% to 24.4%). Again though, this figure surged in the 2021 lockdown, by 38.8%, to 30.4% (from 21.9%).

Supporting these findings, when analysing how consumers are using the internet, TouchPoints 2021 data reveals that there was an 87% increase in searches for fast food/delivery between pre-lockdown 2020 and lockdown 2021 (from 7% pre-lockdown 2020 and in lockdown 2020, rising to 13% in lockdown 2021).

Viewing habits in lockdown

Coupled with our increased appetite for fast food deliveries, there was a significant shift in our viewing habits.

Looking at the figures related to the percentage of time people spent on media each day, there was a 15% increase in people watching any TV or video on any device in the latest lockdown versus pre-COVID. The share of total media time taken by viewing increased from 33% to 37%, as people turned to TVs and digital devices for news, entertainment and something to fill their time.

Drilling into the TouchPoints figures further, it is clear that TV viewing drove the rise in overall viewing figures, with consumers watching any form of TV for an average 4hrs 29 minutes per day, up 17% from pre-lockdown 2020 (3hrs 50 minutes), These figures also saw a rise in the first lockdown in 2020, albeit not so high as this latest lockdown, at +14%. (4hrs 23 minutes per day).

The TouchPoints 2021 data also reveals interesting generational trends as to how the different age groups watched TV and video during lockdown 2021. Looking at all adults, the data reveals that 66% of TV and video viewing was live or recorded, however, when you break this down this rises to 89% for over 55s but just 27% amongst 15-34s.

Meanwhile, other video (shorter and longer online video) took a 19% share of all TV and Video viewing for 15-34s compared to 7% for all adults and just 1% for over 55s. Paid for on demand video was up to a 40% share for 15-34s compared to 5% for over 55s (19% for all adults).

In terms of other significant generational trends revealed by the 2021 data, the popularity of TikTok soared for 15-24s, reaching 43% of them, up significantly from 13% in pre 2020 Lockdown and 30% in 2020 Lockdown. For all adults this stood at 11.5% in lockdown 2021, up from 4.1% in pre lockdown 2020 and 7.3% in 2020 lockdown.

Additional TouchPoints 2021 findings, at a glance:

  • There was a 31% increase in the number of people doing DIY in Lockdown 2020 and a 12.3% increase in DIY in lockdown 2021 versus pre-lockdown 2020, showing that some motivation for home improvement remained in 2021 lockdown.
  • While the number of people practising mindfulness/meditation increased by 14.1% in lockdown 2020, it fell by 7% in lockdown 2021, marking an 18.5% decrease between the two lockdown periods.
  • Online property and job searches, which both saw a dip in lockdown 2020, increased in lockdown 2021, both going from 6% in lockdown 2020 to 10% in 2021.

Says IPA Research Director Belinda Beeftink: "Our TouchPoints data began as a one-off survey back in 2006, then became a bi-annual and then annual survey. In 2020 we released two waves of data which we will do again this year. This allows a unique opportunity to understand as fully as we can the impact of lockdown as it unfolded, providing invaluable insights pre, during and post-lockdown.

These latest figures provide tangible evidence on our suspected hunches and reveal consumers’ real hunger for video content and fast food. It also reveals interesting insights into how some good intentions from the first lockdown perhaps slipped into bad habits in lockdown 2021, as we grew increasingly weary and less communicative.

Belinda Beeftink, IPA Research Director

Commenting on the 15th anniversary of IPA TouchPoints, IPA President Julian Douglas said: "Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And so it was with the IPA’s TouchPoints, back in 2006. As people started to use TouchPoints, so they started to understand its usefulness. It offered a new dimension to our understanding of consumers. Providing a 360-degree perspective, incorporating context and feelings, and so supercharging the information available from other sources. A 10x effect, one might say.

As media consumption becomes ever more fragmented, especially across life stages, understanding real people’s journeys through media becomes increasingly essential to good planning. The need for good quality, robust, independent and trusted data has never been greater and it is vital to have a properly objective media neutral view of the world. This is exactly what TouchPoints provides.

IPA President Julian Douglas
Find out more about IPA TouchPoints


*Dates of data collection:

  • Pre-lockdown - this covers diaries completed from 15 January 2020 through to 23 March when full lockdown commenced.
  • 2020 Lockdown - relates to all diaries which were completed from March 24 (the first day of full lockdown) through to 10 May.
  • 2021 Data - relates to all diaries which were completed from Jan-March 2021.
Last updated 17 April 2024