UK heatwave: demand for fans and air conditioning booms during hot weather

Searches on e-commerce sites more than double

A man tries to keep cool in St James's Park in central London. Online searches for fans have tripled in the past week. EPA
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Demand for air-conditioning units has increased amid a heatwave in the UK, with temperatures rising to a record 40.3°C on Tuesday.

Online searches for air-conditioning systems and fans quadrupled and tripled respectively over the past week as people in Britain desperately sought relief from the hot weather.

Only 5 per cent of homes in Britain have air conditioning, a 2021 report from Britain’s Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy found.

Major retailers, including Sainsbury's and Amazon, said sales of electric fans, hoses, air-conditioning units and sprinklers rose sharply.

On, there were three searches every minute last week for "air con unit" on the e-commerce platform, up 415 per cent from the week before, a company representative said.

People in the UK searched for "fans" four times every minute, up 333 per cent in the same period.

Leading air-conditioning brands being searched were Delonghi, Daikin and Electriq, while many shoppers bought units second-hand and refurbished, an eBay representative said.

Europe is suffering an intense heatwave that is scorching fields and damaging airport runways.

Many people in the UK were forced to work from home on Monday and Tuesday as the rail network struggled to deal with the heat, with parts of the track reaching 62°C in eastern England.

Commuters were also desperate to avoid stuffy, unventilated Tube lines on the London Underground, with services forced to operate at a reduced speed.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 12:34 PM