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Viral Skin Creams, Rowing Machines, Juicers And Ill-Fitting Underwear – Brits Shell Out £204 A Year On Duff Purchases, According To A New Study

Eight in ten (83 percent) Brits admit to feeling ‘buyer’s remorse’ – feeling elated by a purchase, only to feel gutted when it arrives.

According to research from Capital One UK the average Brit has shelled out £204 in the last 12 months on stuff they were bitterly disappointed with.

Clothes that looked amazing on the model (38 percent), underwhelming takeaways, (32 percent), children’s toys which were never played with (21 percent) and fragrances that don’t smell as expected (20 percent) are revealed as the top regret purchases made by Brits.

One in five (20 percent) have been left uncomfortable by ill-fitting underwear and Christmas presents that fall flat (14 percent) also leave us deflated.

Unused Gym Equipment – And Black Friday Temptation

Gym equipment is a major regret purchase, with expensive kit that is never worn (12 percent), weights that end up gathering dust (12 percent), running machines that are rarely switched on (eight percent) and rowing machines that act as a clothes horse (six percent) all featuring in the 20 most disappointing purchases.

Three quarters (72 percent) blame social media ads for encouraging them to buy stuff that they don’t actually need or want, while more than half (54 percent) claim Black Friday is the time they have historically been most likely to buy something they regretted.

One in four (25 percent) admit that the endless Christmas, Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals pile on the pressure to get the perfect gift for loved ones.


  1. Clothes which looked great on the model     38%
  2. Underwhelming takeaways       32%
  3. Toys the children never played with      21%
  4. Bad smelling perfume        20%
  5. Ill-fitting underwear        20%
  6. A Christmas present the recipient hated      14%
  7. Expensive gym kit which was never worn     12%
  8. A set of weights which were never used      12%
  9. Home furnishings which were the wrong size      12%
  10. Pointless skin care products from social media 12%
  11. Tummy holding in pants which didn’t work     11%
  12. Fad diet juicers          11%
  13. Lingerie which looked silly       10%
  14. A disappointing holiday or mini break      10%
  15. A new duvet cover which didn’t fit the duvet     9%
  16. A running machine you rarely switch on       8%
  17. Candles which didn’t fit into your candle holders    8%
  18. Pots and pans which didn’t work on an induction hob    6%
  19. A rowing machine which is gathering dust     6%
  20. A tablecloth which didn’t fit the table      5%

Broadcaster and consumer affairs champion, Alice Beer, is working with Capital One to urge the country not to get carried away this festive period. She said: “This year more than ever, consumers will be eager to get a good deal on their festive spending.

“But Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals aren’t always the great value people are led to believe, and can lead to regret. It’s important for people to be more mindful when spending this holiday season, and not fall victim to the short-lived thrill and FOMO of the biggest spend time of year.”

A third (35 percent) admit the pressure to buy friends and family Christmas gifts they will love can be overwhelming, while one in four (27 percent) say the FOMO of losing a potential deal is enough for them to get sucked in and buy something they may regret later.

One in four (25 percent) confess to being disappointed with items they have seen on ads on social media channels, with one in ten (12 percent) putting viral skin care products that don’t work as one of their most regretful purchases.

A quarter (24 percent) confess that they can tell when someone rushed and ended up buying the wrong gift as soon as they unwrap it.

As a result of the cost-of-living crisis, half the country is planning to reduce present budgets, while one in two (47 percent) will be buying fewer gifts.

Purchasing joint presents like gift experiences or board games (20 percent), giving to food banks (17 percent) and gifting energy saving presents (15 percent) are also actions Brits are planning to take to help spend more consciously this festive period.

More than two thirds (67 percent) say they will ask for a gift wish list to ensure that they don’t waste money on gifts that friends and family don’t like.


Conscious spending: Focus on what you can afford

Andrew Clayton, Head of Brand at Capital One UK, said: “The research shows that most people have made purchases they go onto regret. We’re on a mission to drive positive change across the lending market and promise to put the best interests of our customers first, by doing one small, good thing at a time. This year we’re pleased to see consumers planning to spend consciously, but the most important thing for everyone to remember is only spending what you can afford.”


Alice Beer’s Black Friday tips: 

Budget Planning – Before you begin Black Friday shopping, take the time to make a budget of all your possible spends including food and gifts. Doing this can keep you from spending more than you can afford. It’s important to remind yourself of your budget as you shop, so you stick to it.

Take a break from social media this weekend – According to research by Capital One, a third (32%) of people (or 50% of people aged 25-34) feel that social media ads have encouraged them to buy items they later regret. Unfollowing these brands or avoiding entirely around the festive period will help you avoid impulse spending on deals they promote on social media. Also consider taking a break or ‘sleeping on it’ before you check out your basket – this gives you a bit of breathing space to ponder your purchases and might keep you from a regretful impulse buy.

Research your wishlist products – the cost of living crisis has also driven certain items to ‘trend’ – think energy efficient appliances like air fryers and slow cookers. Make sure you research products that are actually right for you – and not something you purchase just because you’re lured in with a huge discount.

Protect yourself with a credit card – When used properly, credit cards can be a good tool to budget and purchase big-ticket buys. Anything costing between £100 and £30,000 is covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that if anything goes wrong with your order, your credit card provider is jointly liable to reimburse you.

Make the most of abandoned basket discounts – Some retailers will offer discounts if you leave items in your online basket without completing the purchase. To do this, you’ll need to log into your account, add an item to your basket and then close the browser window. You may receive an email from the retailer either later that day or the following one, offering money off to encourage you to complete your purchase.