Life in Lockdown: Record Numbers Go Online for Essentials and Experiences

May 14, 2020 | Brussels, Belgium

– Lockdown prompts 30 per cent surge in virtual experiences from films to fitness 
– One in four make donations to charity online 
– Hair clippers, dumbbells and books among most popular Lockdown products 
– 65 per cent of people worried about online fraud or ‘scamming’ 

Online shopping has outstripped all other forms of spending over the past month, with more than half of European shoppers (57 per cent) saying they are shopping online more than ever and record numbers signing up to virtual experiences like home fitness classes, TV and film subscriptions and online learning during lockdown.

The research from Mastercard revealed that one in three Europeans (30 per cent) are spending more money on virtual experiences, with almost two in three (58 per cent) watching TV or films through an online subscription service, more than a quarter (26 per cent) ‘attending’ exercise classes online and 24 per cent virtually visiting museums and other places of interest.

According to the research, the times we are living in have also made us more generous with more than a quarter (28 per cent) saying they have donated to charity online in the last month and 14 per cent donating for the first time.

People across Europe are also using the extra time indoors as an opportunity to learn new online skills, with almost two in five (37 per cent) starting to bank online, more than a quarter (28 per cent) learning how to manage their health and get their medicines online and a third (31 per cent) learning to cook through online tutorials.

One in ten (10 per cent) are learning to code, seven per cent are using the internet to help them learn to play a musical instrument and 14 per cent have followed online guides to cut hair!

As well as a 36 per cent increase in people shopping for essentials online, some of the most popular trends include notable spikes in buying books (32 per cent), hair clippers (19 per cent) and fitness equipment like dumbbells and yoga mats (13 per cent).

The research revealed that online shopping habits also seem to mirror real life behaviours, with four in five (81 per cent) typical in-store bargain hunters spending hours searching different sites to find the best deals and two in three (66 per cent) self-confessed window shoppers saying they regularly create wish lists but don’t always buy.  Half of new online shoppers (51 per cent) say they remain loyal to real life counterparts.

Almost everyone (87 per cent) is careful about what and where they shop online, with 65 per cent saying they worry about becoming a victim of online fraud or ‘scamming’. In a bid to maintain payment safety online, four in five Europeans (81 per cent) tend to stick to familiar retailers, 80 per cent check site or buyer reviews and a third (31 per cent) will contact new or unknown sellers before purchasing.

Mark Barnett, President, Europe at Mastercard said: “We are all adjusting to a new way of living and are understandably shopping more online, though it’s not just for essentials but for virtual experiences ranging from films to fitness too. Tough times can bring out the best in us and we can take comfort and heart from the increases in people donating online and the huge numbers of people learning new ways to manage their day-to-day lives online. Now more than ever people need access to the digital economy and all of us at Mastercard are constantly working to make the online shopping experience more simple, seamless and secure for everyone, whether you’re shopping for essentials or experiences.”


  1. 75 per cent are regularly doing video calls with family, friends and work colleagues
  2. 58 per cent have an online TV/film subscription like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video
  3. 36 per cent are watching virtual comedy or stand-up online
  4. 32 per cent tune into online music gigs
  5. 31 per cent are playing video games online
  6. 30 per cent are doing cooking classes or following recipes online
  7. 26 per cent are taking part in virtual fitness classes
  8. 24 per cent visiting museums or places of interest online
  9. 22 per cent are learning a new language online
  10. 20 per cent do quizzes with friends online


  1. Books (32 per cent)
  2. Cooking utensils (22 per cent)
  3. Hair colouring (19 per cent)
  4. Board games (18 per cent)
  5. Puzzles (17 per cent)
  6. Hair clippers (15 per cent)
  7. Computers / equipment (13 per cent)
  8. Pillows (13 per cent)
  9. Dumbbells / Fitness equipment (13 per cent)
  10. Arts & crafts (12 per cent)

Mastercard’s top tips for keeping safe online

  • Choose secure webpages: Only pay for goods online via a secure webpage. Secure pages will begin with ‘https’ and will feature a locked padlock symbol in the browser
  • Keep your details safe: Never send your bank or credit card details via email, text message, social media or over unverified phone calls
  • Update your security protection: Make sure you update your security protection for whichever device you plan on shopping with, whether it be your phone, laptop or tablet
  • Trust your instinct: If you see an offer online that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Always do your research if unsure

 – Ends –


For more information and imagery please contact or

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA),
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardE@MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Digital Priceless Experiences:
Mastercard is crafting unique and memorable experiences it’s known for in the physical world and bringing them online for Digital Priceless Experiences. This curated catalog of events connects people all over the world to each other and their passions locally and globally. Examples in Europe include:

Culinary Spain Virtual hand-to-hand cooking with four Michelin star chef Ángel León.Learn signature dishes by Aponiente from world-renowned "Sea Chef" Live on May 21st
Arts & Culture Spain.Available globally Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.Three private videos only for Mastercard clients and their children, where the storyteller Margalida Albertí will create three stories for kids through some Thyssen’s paintings. Little-known tales for the whole family that will inspire children by discussing values like empathy, curiosity, and imagination. Live on May 14th
Music Turkey Enjoying jazz music at home with an exclusive radio show from Istanbul Jazz Festival directors. Live on May 20th
Sports Italy Digital Priceless Surprise with legends (former players) of FC Internazionale Milano.Signed Javier Zanetti Inter home jersey season 2019/2020 auctioned for local charity. Beginning of June

For more information please check the hub at

Notes To Editors
Mastercard used a third party supplier – independent research company, Fly research - to conduct an online survey of 12,500 respondents from 4th – 11th May 2020 across 15 markets. The respondents were a mix of male and female and a spread of ages, all 18+.