60% of Leeds households believe it’s important to keep up appearances

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it very few benefits, yet people’s relationships with their neighbours was one positive, with almost a quarter of Leeds residents (23%) claiming that it brought them closer together as a result.

Whilst the same can’t be said for everyone, with 13% of the nation having confessed to not even knowing the names of their neighbours, how many of our interactions are just about keeping up appearances?

Commissioned by leading electricals and appliance brand, Hisense, the survey showcased the habits of neighbours across the UK and revealed just how nosey we are as a nation*.

The research revealed that almost two thirds of UK households (60%) believe it’s important to keep up appearances when comparing themselves to others on the street. Mowing the lawn (14%), travelling to the same destination (12%) and buying a new car (10%) topped the charts when it came to the nation responding to their neighbours’ actions.

It’s therefore no surprise that almost half the nation (47%) are curtain twitchers and consider themselves to be a nosey neighbour, this is less so the case in Leeds, which was below the national average (42%). 27% have even taken it that one step further and admitted to spying on their neighbours!

The UK’s Top 5 Nosiest Cities:
1. Manchester (63%)
2. Sheffield (53%)
2 Newcastle (53%)
4 London (52%)
5 Nottingham (51%)

Whilst more than two thirds of people trust recommendations from people on their street, it seems like most would be better keeping their recommendations to themselves, with almost a third (31%) admitting to getting jealous when their neighbours go a step above and purchases something better than what they have.

In fact, 32% of the nation admit to having spent money to keep up with their neighbour, only to go on and regret their purchase. For an estimated 4+ million Brits this has come at quite a substantial cost, having spent more than £10,000 on rash or regretful purchases. Leeds made it into the top 10.

Top 10 cities that on average have wasted the most money on regretful purchases:
1. Southampton
2. Cardiff
3. Sheffield
4. Bristol
5. Manchester
6. Norwich
7. Leeds
8. Nottingham
9. Birmingham
10. Liverpool

Consumer psychologist, Dr Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, commented: “Naturally people compare themselves to others, in particular to those close to them. Hence, they tend to keep a close eye on the people around them – what they wear, what gadgets they have and even what changes they make to their house. If others have something that is particularly appealing, that they either don’t have or that is better than what they have, a ‘want’ to get the same or something better kicks in. If they don’t, they may end up feeling second-rate. It is like a subconscious game of keeping up with the Joneses.

“At a time when finances are tough for people, this may be causing havoc to your wallet. Thus, it is key to shop with your head – stylish looking items that can make the neighbour green with envy, do not have to be the most expensive ones.”

Arun Bhatoye, Head of Marketing at Hisense UK, added: “We’ve all been guilty of having a peek at what the neighbours are up to or buying – whether it’s a new car that they’ve just forked out for, or we’ve nipped round and seen their latest bit of tech. But with Christmas gifts and January sales purchases, those subtle brags or new purchases are bound to be talk of the town, and it’s important that people don’t get carried away, spending a fortune for things they don’t need to. It’s important that people ensure they’re making smart choices and getting the most for their money – less might just be more!”