Lockdown Scots find novel ways to pass the time


04 November 2020

  • Reading and watching films and TV most popular hobbies post lockdown
  • Exercising top of most people’s hobby ‘wish list’
  • Men spend two-thirds more on hobbies than women per month

Lockdown Scots made a return to traditional hobbies to pass the time, with more people reading, watching TV and cooking, research from Bank of Scotland has shown.

Reading was the preferred leisure activity for over half (54%) the population, with a further 17% picking up the books during lockdown. Gardening, already a regular activity for a third (24%) of people, has seen a further 16% get green-fingered whilst under stay at home orders. 

Film and television are now enjoyed by 15% more Scots, up from the third (38%) already regularly seeking out the latest from the big and small screens. 

The vast majority (73%) of Scots consider themselves hobbyists, with younger adults and the over 55s most likely to have a specific pastime, at 77% and 76% respectively. These age groups share a love of film and television, with 41% of 18 to 25-year-olds and 29% of over 55s stating the activity as a hobby.

Gaming is the most popular pastime of those aged 18 to 25 – with half (50%) finding comfort in their consoles. Meanwhile reading (62%) is the favoured pastime of the over 55s.

The average Scot spends £46.50 per month on their hobbies, with men spending 64% more than women (£58.23 vs £35.49). Younger people, aged 18 to 24 have the biggest budget, spending £58.22 per month on average. This reduces through the generations with the over 55s spending £42.65 per month.

Ricky Diggins, Director, Bank of Scotland, said: "With ongoing restrictions on where we can go, and who we can see, it's no surprise that more people are turning their attention to traditional hobbies in their free time, with reading, gardening and cooking all increasing in popularity this year.

“The cost each month for the average hobbyist is around £50, but there will be differences in what people can expect to pay, with variations in costs across hobbies such as gaming, writing, and board games. The good news is there is something out there for everyone and now may be a good time to give things a go." 

When it comes to the hobby ‘wish list,’ exercising, as well as reading lead the pack. Almost a fifth of Scots (18%) want to devote more time to staying fit or sitting down with a good book. This is followed by cooking, where 15% would like to hone their skills in the kitchen, and just over one in 10 (11%) want to get growing in the garden.

Some hobbies also appear to have a gendered dimension. Women are more likely to take up reading, gardening, cooking and craft, whilst sport and gaming are more common for Scottish men. 

Some hobbies are more equal across gender lines, with the same proportion of men and women enjoying film and television (38%) or playing board and card games (15%). There are only small differences in the preference to follow exercise (23% of men and 26% of women), writing (11% vs 12%) and photography (17% vs 13%).

Despite ongoing government restrictions, time is the main barrier to pursuing interests, with over a third (34%) stating they don’t have enough free time to dedicate to hobbies. Around a sixth (15%) think hobbies are too expensive.