This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 20 to 24 April 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

24 April 2020

Retail sales

The volume of retail sales fell by 5.1% in March 2020, the largest monthly fall since the series began more than 30 years ago.

The latest data – covering the period from 1 March to 4 April 2020 – highlight the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many stores ceased trading from 23 March following official government guidance.

Clothing store sales saw the biggest drop of any store type, falling by more than one-third (34.8%) when compared with the previous month.

The volume of fuel sales also fell sharply (18.9%), with travel restrictions in place and more people working remotely.

Food stores and non-store retailing were the only sectors to show growth in monthly sales, with food stores seeing the strongest growth on record, at 10.4%. Alcohol store sales (which can be volatile on a monthly basis) rose by 31.4% compared with the previous month.

Meanwhile, online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March 2020 as consumers switched to online purchasing from home.

24 April 2020

Disability and loneliness

More than a third of disabled adults say they spent too much time alone since the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, compared with a fifth of non-disabled adults.

Analysis conducted after lockdown was introduced on 23 March has revealed the social impact of the pandemic.

The data also showed that more than twice as many disabled adults (8.3%) as non-disabled adults (3.6%) said they often or always felt lonely.

A larger proportion (52.7%) of disabled adults have self-isolated because of coronavirus, compared with non-disabled adults (32.3%), a factor which may be contributing to these trends.

Disabled adults reported lower levels of well-being before the crisis and they continued to do so after the lockdown measures were implemented. The main reason cited was feeling worried about the future, being stressed, anxious or bored.

For more information, read the article, Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain.

23 April 2020

Early estimates of employment

There were 29.1 million people in paid employment in March 2020, around 18,000 fewer than in February 2020. This represents a slight fall of 0.06%.

The number of paid employees in March 2020 was 0.8% higher than a year earlier.

These are experimental estimates of employment based on Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information (RTI) from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They cover only employees and exclude the self-employed. The estimates published in our regular labour market release remain the most comprehensive.

Experimental estimates for March 2020 are based on around 90% of information being available and are considered of lower quality. They may be subject to revision in next month’s release when between 98% and 99% of data will be available. This work has been brought forward in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

20 April 2020

Living situation

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19), people are largely staying at home and only coming into close contact with others in their household.

For those living alone, that means no physical contact with anyone. For others, it means taking care of young children who would otherwise be at school. We have taken a look at household composition data to give an idea of how this may impact on ability to social distance across England.

In our projected values for 2020, 28% of households in England contain dependent children, 41% are two or more adults with no dependent children and 31% are people living alone.

Almost a third of households in England are people living alone

Household composition in England, by age of household reference person (HRP), projected values for 2020

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Our data are also broken down by age of the household reference person (chosen because of their economic activity, age or sex).

Around 34% of people living alone are aged 70 years and over, equal to 2.5 million people. There are five local authorities in England in which more than half of people living alone are over 70 years old. Three of these are in the South West, with East Dorset having the highest percentage (58%).

Meanwhile, Barking and Dagenham has the highest percentage of households with dependent children (45%), followed by Slough (40%).

Explore how living situations vary in your area

Household composition by local authority in England, by age of household reference person (HRP), projected values for 2020

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20 April 2020

Health deprivation map

Health deprivation is an important measure in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19). It reflects the concentration of people dying prematurely or experiencing poor quality of mental or physical health in an area.

While not everyone in more deprived areas will experience poor health, disability or lower life expectancy, they are more likely to compared with those in less deprived areas.

We have mapped and highlighted areas of England according to health deprivation. Areas are divided into Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The data is produced by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

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User requested data

We have been responding to data requests from the public, media and government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Responses are published in our list of user requested data.

Recent requests for data cover topics such as five-year average weekly deaths by place of death, households with unrelated adults and households with people aged 65 years and over. We have also produced data on tourism employment as part of an annual update for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Some of the main insights include:

  • Deaths at hospitals and care homes in Week 15 (3 to 10 April 2020) were 74% and 126% higher than their respective five-year averages.
  • Around 1.1 million people were house-sharing with three or more unrelated adults in 2019.
  • There are around 8.8 million households containing someone aged 65 years and over. Of these households 78% only contain people aged 65 years and over, 20% are households with someone aged 16 to 64 years and just under 2% are households with someone aged 0 to 15 and 16 to 64 years.
  • An estimated 1.4 million people were directly employed in tourism in 2019. Accommodation for visitors made up 21%, sports and recreation activities 8% and cultural activities 5%.

Our subnational data page offers advice to anyone doing their own analysis on the impact of the coronavirus. It contains useful links to geographic boundaries and datasets such as population by local area.


  • Retail sales, Great Britain

    A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

  • Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain

    Analysis of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on disabled people in Great Britain during periods throughout the pandemic from March 2020 to December 2021. Based on estimates from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.