Brits now prefer ‘making do’ over buying new

We’re now in an era of ‘making do’ where two thirds of Brits (66%) say they would fix broken items rather than buy brand new replacements. Saving for the future and paying off debts also take precedence over having the most up-to-date gadgets and keeping up with the latest fashions.

These new priorities have been revealed in the second Changing Face of British Homes Report The research for the second Changing Face of British Homes Report was conducted by Opinion Matters, an independent market research agency, between 15 and 29 July 2011. A total of 2,000 members of the public were polled across the country.

The first Changing Face of British Homes Report was issued in June 2008 and was based on an ongoing survey of over 27,000 British adults on behalf of Legal & General almost exclusively by online omnibus company, You Gov in waves of at least 2000 GB representative adults.
Today’s report by Legal & General’s general insurance business which reveals a significant shift in how people regard their home and their possessions over the past three years.

Saving for the future is rated an important priority for the next 12 months by over three quarters, (76%) of those polled for the Changing Face of British Homes report, with paying off debts rated important by over half (55%) of people. In contrast, only one in five, (19%) see having the latest gadgets as important.

Our preference to ‘make do and mend’ is in stark contrast to the findings of the first Changing Face of British Homes report carried out in 2008, in which 86% of Brits admitted to replacing broken or damaged household items without any attempt at fixing them first.

Upgrading properties by making home improvements – rated important by almost half of respondents, (46%) – is also revealed to be more of a priority than moving to a bigger home or a home in a better area. Only 22% rated this as a priority for the coming year.

The research also reveals that Brits are keener to spend disposable income on enjoying experiences with friends and family, such as entertaining at home, rated important by 43% of people surveyed or taking part in hobbies like sport or music (49%) than they are on buying new ‘big ticket’ items for their homes. Buying items such as sofas and white goods like washing machines, fridges and freezers was rated unimportant by three quarters of respondents, (73%).

Key changes between 2008 and 2011

2008 2011
* 25-34 year olds were most likely to throw away broken items rather than to ‘make do and mend’, (91%) * This has completely reversed – the 25-34 year old age group is now more likely to make do and mend than any of the other groups, (70%)
69% admitted to having a ‘technology graveyard’ in their attic A similar proportion (70%) now store items in the attic but these are largely items of sentimental value, such as books
93% of Brits said they have hosted parties in their home Two fifths (43%) say that entertaining regularly at home is important to them
86% would commit a room to a hobby if they had the choice Only 5% say a room like a games room would be essential in the home
28% of people said they were intending to extend their home but had put off the change until they became more confident about their situation Only 8% now say that making home improvements, such as extensions, is a priority for the next 12  months
59% would consider buying a house with solar panels Only one in ten (11%) say solar panels are a desirable addition to the home
52% of younger people said they were most likely to make use of wi-fi around the home by working anywhere on a laptop 82% of 16-24 year olds and 80% of 25-34 year olds say that they can work or surf the internet in their home due to developments in technology
Of those who said they worked from home, only one in three (34%) actually had a home office or study There has been little change here – only one in three (30%) now say they see a home office or study as essential in their home

Mike Lawler, director for Legal & General’s general insurance business said: “We have seen a clear shift in the way we view our homes and possessions in recent years. In the first Changing Face of British Homes Report, 15% of people said they would like to dedicate a room in their home to become a library – now people are questioning the need to even have bookshelves.

These changes in attitude mean that the focus we have on items in our homes is now on budgeted upgrades and improvements, in comparison to the splurges for ‘must have’ items witnessed in recent years. Our research shows that Brits have become more realistic about what they can afford and are focusing on enjoying the cheaper and often more simple things in life such as spending time with friends and family. It’s also clear that we still attach much sentimental value to items such as books and treasured family items and that while there is a clear increase in the number of gadgets in our homes, full digitisation is still some way off.”

Home interior expert, Anna Ryder-Richardson said: “People are falling back in love with their homes. With the property market in the doldrums, people are keen to leave their own personal stamp on properties and we are experiencing a move away from the more bland interior designs that have typically appealed to buyers. As part of this we are seeing more people on the hunt for bargains and the practice of ‘up-cycling’ is resulting in more eclectic items re-entering our homes once again.”

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