More than a third of UK adults plan to increase household repairs, rather than buy new

Millions of households are turning to repairs and renovations, rather than replacements, a new study by insurance business Aviva suggests.

Earlier this year, Aviva’s latest How We Live Report suggested nine out of 10 UK adults (88%) attempt to fix selected household items when damage occurs.

A further Aviva survey of 2,000 UK adults now suggests more than a third (36%) of people expect to repair more possessions in the coming months.

A similar number (35%) intend to upcycle more, while 33% believe they will be buying more pre-owned items. Others plan to use barter systems (12%) or pick up free items from giveaway sites and social groups (24%).

When it comes to mending belongings, people are most likely to have a go at fixing clothing, furnishings and furniture, according to the survey.

If a simple repair were required, 45% of people said they would be confident mending clothes – although less than half of this number would attempt to mend shoes (20%). Almost a third (30%) would try to fix curtains or rugs, while 28% would have a go at repairing furniture.

Household item Percentage of UK adults who would feel confident doing a simple repair
Clothes 45%
Furnishings e.g. curtains, rugs 30%
Furniture 28%
Children’s toys / baby items 25%
Small electrical appliances e.g. kettle, toaster, hair straighteners 22%
Pedal cycles 21%
Shoes / boots 20%
Computer equipment e.g. laptop, printer 15%
Phone / tablet 15%
Car / motor vehicle 13%
Large electrical appliances e.g. fridge, washing machine, cooker, TV 11%

Repair and renovate

Electrical goods pose more of a challenge and just 15% would feel confident fixing a phone, tablet or computer equipment, the survey states.

More than half (54%) of repairers say they would do so to save money. However, people are also keen to avoid sending items to landfill (31%), while others say it’s more convenient to repair an item then buy new (32%). One in six renovators (17%) are keen to pass on their repairing skills to others.

The study also found that two fifths of UK adults say they have tried to fix an item, only to make the problem worse.

Many report that their possessions looked worse after they had tried to repair them, that they couldn’t put items back together, or they simply didn’t work and had to call in a professional.

We’d urge people to only take on those repairs they are confident they can do safely, particularly when dealing with electrical goods.

Kelly Whittington, Property Claims Director, Aviva General Insurance said the research suggests there’s a “keenness to repair and renovate”, along with real enthusiasm for pre-loved items.

“Both can offer an opportunity to save money and it’s fantastic to see that items are being repurposed and saved from landfill,” she said.

“However, we’d urge people to only take on those repairs they are confident they can do safely, particularly when dealing with electrical goods. As our study shows, it’s not unusual for individuals to make matters worse if they don’t know what they’re doing. This is when people should turn to a professional to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios – as well as a few tears!

“Between July and December 2021, through our UK claims process, we rescued 570 smartphones and laptops, by repairing damaged devices, rather than replacing them. We’re constantly speaking to our customers and are keen to reflect their attitudes, so when we can build green ambitions into our processes, this is a great result all round.”


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