A study by insurance company Urban Jungle also found that sales of musical instruments and golf clubs have increased by more than 200% since the closures. Director Stephen Cowap believes that “with many people still working from home, interest in and adoption of new hobbies will only grow.”
And there’s a nice twist. While hobbies were once considered mildly embarrassing, the rise in people posting their endeavors on social media (#newhobby has been used nearly a million times) means that hobbies are now cool.
“Hobbies were often associated with retirement,” says John Worthington, principal analyst at Mintel. “But they’ve become very trendy, partly because people are sharing their hobbies on social media, including celebrities.”
In recent years, David Beckham revealed his beekeeping skills to his 74 million Instagram followers, American podcaster Seth Rogen posted about his new found love for ceramics, Tom Daley introduced knitting to a whole new audience and rapper Cardi B shared her unlikely passion for board games. .
“The market has become much more mainstream,” says Worthington. “People use leisure to rediscover simple pleasures. The cost of living crisis means that consumers with money are reassessing their priorities, and people with tight family budgets may go out less. If we go into a recession, I expect we will definitely see more people staying home and turning to hobbies.
Tara Crean, 54, is a public relations and content writer from Brighton. “Before the pandemic, I worked 60 hours a week and didn’t have time to do a lot of work outside,” she says. “I spent my time socializing and staying fit by running half marathons and 10Ks. After becoming independent, I realized I had time to do something creative.
“I wasn’t sure what to do, but I had watched The Great Pottery Throw Down so I started taking ceramics classes.”
Six months later, Crean has made dozens of pots that she gives to her family and friends as gifts. “I’m still at the foothills, but I love doing it,” she says. “It’s so good to do something just for fun, but also to come away with something tangible at the end. I find it very therapeutic because I’m so wrapped up in the task – it’s quite physical to throw pottery on the wheel and requires a lot of concentration – so there’s no space to think about my daily worries. It’s a real stress reliever.”
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Sula Windgassen, creative hobbies are beneficial because they use different pathways in the brain. “They can act on two aspects: the rewards that we associate with dopamine; but also pleasure, because feeling connected and socializing can release serotonin. Therefore, hobbies allow us to experience simple pleasure while having a real sense of accomplishment. That’s why she believes they should stay.
“The pandemic made people realize that their world was quite small – not just during the lockdown itself, but before, when they spent most of their time working or engaging in bar culture,” she says. “It led to many wake-up calls as many realized there were more things they would like to do.”
For Jason Quinn, a 58-year-old comics editor based in Tunbridge Wells, that meant joining a local fencing club in January. “I always wanted to fight with the sword. I did a little stage fighting during my teenage years in drama school and then nothing since,” he says.