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New research reveals winter rituals of a ‘HIBER-NATION’

New research reveals how Brits prepare in the lead up to winter 

  • Swapping light duvets for thick winter ones is the nation’s top winter ritual
  • Brits’ favourite at-home winter activities are watching TV and eating hearty meals
  • One thing most people are overlooking when preparing for winter is energy shopping
  • Brits could save up to £200 if they made energy shopping a winter ritual


Embargoed until 8 October 2014, 00:01: With three quarters (75%) of Brits spending more time snuggled up at home in the colder months, new research from energy regulator Ofgem reveals Brits’ top winter rituals and shows we are a ‘hiber-nation’. Top of the ‘winter rituals’ list is swapping to thicker duvets (47%), moving from summer to winter wardrobes (46%) and storing garden furniture (38%).

Practical energy saving actions such as bleeding radiators (27%), and buying draft excluders (10%) also feature, which is not surprising, given that 71% of the average annual gas bill[1] and 54% of the annual electricity bill[2] comes from the winter months.  But one thing that the majority of people don’t do is shop around for their energy, with less than a quarter (23%) naming this as a winter ritual.

The survey, commissioned as part of the ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign, also asked Brits about their favourite at-home activities during the winter months.  With X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing dominating the schedules, it was hardly surprising that six in 10 (60%) said watching television was a favourite activity. This is followed by swapping summer salads for warm hearty foods like roast dinners (52%) and drinking hot drinks (40%).

The research also reveals that if Brits had an extra £200 to put towards getting their home hibernation-ready, almost half would store it away in savings (49%), followed by redecorating (13%) and investing in new winter clothes (12%).  Making energy shopping a winter ritual could help people make these dreams a reality, as there are currently savings of up to £200 to be made from switching to a better deal.  The Be An Energy Shopper website (www.goenergyshopping.co.uk) provides top tips and advice on how to start shopping around for gas and electricity.

Prof. Isabelle Szmigin, consumer expert and Be An Energy Shopper spokesperson commented: “Once October arrives, Britain becomes a hiber-nation, where comforting rituals help keep us feeling warm during the winter months. Because of these rituals - whether it’s buying a new winter wardrobe, thicker duvets or getting the house ready for Christmas - we all notice an increase in our spending.

However, when it comes to winter energy bills, people don’t seem to naturally think they can make a saving – shopping around for energy could make a huge difference to Brits, leaving them with some extra money to enjoy this winter” 

Top winter rituals:

  1. Swapping light duvets for thicker winter duvets – 47%
  2. Swapping summer wardrobes for winter wardrobes – 46%
  3. Putting away garden furniture – 38%
  4. Swapping flip flops for boots/socks for tights – 36%
  5. Adjusting heating systems (eg swapping air conditioning/fans for heating) – 34%
  6. Bleeding the radiators – 27%
  7. Clearing the gutters – 17%
  8. Storing away suntan lotion and replacing it with winter-ready thick moisturisers – 12%
  9. Swapping the BBQ for the oven – 11%
  10.  Setting times on lamps and lights around the house – 11%


Top at-home winter activities:

  1. Watching TV – 60%
  2. Preparing and eating warm, hearty food instead of summer meals – 52%
  3. Preparing and drinking hot drinks – 40%
  4. Wearing comfy pyjamas – 36%
  5. Taking advantage of the longer nights by having longer lie-ins – 21%


Visit www.goenergyshopping.co.uk for an easy guide on how to

shop around for a better energy deal.

- ENDS -

For more information on the ‘Be An Energy Shopper’ campaign, please contact goenergyshopping@feverpr.com or call +44 (0)20 7792 7418


1Source: DECC’s "Natural gas supply and consumption (ET 4.1)” at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gas-section-4-energy-trends; own calculations

2 Source: DECC’s “Supply and consumption of electricity (ET 5.2)” at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-section-5-energy-trends; own calculations

Regional Stats

  • Residents in eastern England are the biggest TV addicts with 65% of the region saying watching TV is a favourite at-home winter activity
  • The nation’s most eager savers are in the East Midlands, with 62% of East Midlanders saying they would put up to £200 towards their savings if they could cut back on their energy bills
  • The Welsh are the biggest pyjama lovers with a huge 44% saying they enjoy spending more time at home in their comfy pyjamas in winter.


About Professor Isabelle Szmigin

Isabelle Szmigin is Professor of Marketing at Birmingham Business School, the University of Birmingham, UK. Her interests lie primarily in the areas of consumer research, services, ethical and social marketing. She has held ESRC and British Academy research grants.  She has previously worked in publishing, financial services and the chemical industry in various marketing roles.


ICM Research interviewed a sample of 2,049 GB adults aged 18+ online between 5 and 7 September 2014.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all GB adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


Be An Energy Shopper

The Be An Energy Shopper campaign was launched by Ofgem in response to consumer demand for impartial advice on how to compare tariffs in the gas and electricity markets.  An easy guide has been set up at www.goenergyshopping.co.uk to show how recent changes to the energy market can help consumers to compare tariffs and get a better deal on their gas and electricity bills.

The website includes:

  • New tools to help people compare the different tariffs
  • A glossary explaining the language used on bills
  • Links to other useful sites, including comparison services accredited to Ofgem’s Confidence Code
  • A step-by-step guide that visitors can download and keep, or to give to friends and relatives without internet access


About Ofgem

Ofgem is the GB energy regulator. Everything we do is aimed at making a positive difference for consumers. For more information please visit: www.ofgem.gov.uk


[1] Source: DECC’s "Natural gas supply and consumption (ET 4.1)” at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gas-section-4-energy-trends; own calculations

[2] Source: DECC’s “Supply and consumption of electricity (ET 5.2)” at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-section-5-energy-trends; own calculations 

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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