Brits are stocking up on air fryers and electric blankets as energy bills soar

CNN business

UK shoppers are snapping up energy-saving air coolers, electric blankets and slow cookers this winter as fuel bills soar.

Air fryer sales rose 286% in September compared to the same month last year, according to market research firm GfK.

Portable appliances typically use less energy than a conventional oven because air fryers are smaller and heat up faster.

“The dramatic increase in sales of these items shows how much the rise in energy prices is affecting people,” Helen Morrissey, a senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne, told CNN Business. “People are monitoring their energy usage in a minute.”

Sales of electric cookers, including pressure cookers and slow cookers, were also up 79% in the year to September.

A slow cooker costs an average of 11 cents (13 cents) to run for an hour, while a regular electric oven costs 21 cents (24 cents), according to data from price comparison website, which calculates energy costs for consumer products.

Asda, one of the country’s biggest supermarket chains, said sales of its air fryers rose 320% in September 2021 from the same month, while sales of its slow cookers doubled.

Britons are also gearing up for the colder weather by stocking up on electric blankets. According to GfK, product sales were up 216% year-on-year in September.

“It’s clear that people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the heating off for as long as possible to ease the pressure on their finances,” Morrissey said.

Millions of Britons are struggling to make ends meet as food and fuel bills soar this year. Last month, consumer price inflation rose to 10.1% in July, the highest rate in 40 years.

And the average annual household energy bill rose 96% from last October to £2,500 ($2,889) this month.

In September, the government stepped in to cap gas and electricity bills at that level for the next two years. But earlier this month, the country’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said the cap would last until April, and the most vulnerable households would receive more help.

Asda’s data, compiled by the Center for Economic and Business Research, said families were £141 ($163) worse off in September compared with a year earlier.

Increases in gas and electricity bills, 96% and 54% respectively, were the main drivers of the drop in disposable income, according to the retailer.