Consumer Research : 2021 Spending Priorities

Consumer Spending Priorities - Family, wearing face masks, out shopping

Clearly, the pandemic has changed the way consumers across the world think about their money, and in many cases, accelerated trends towards digital. Brands of every kind will need to consider consumer priorities for the year ahead, and stand ready to adapt to new behaviour. In this article, take a look at exclusive YouGov research into consumers' financial priorities for the year ahead.

Top 3 Financial Priorities for the Next 12 Months

Looking at the year ahead reveals a number of consumer priorities in each market. In Spain (55%), Great Britain (49%), and Sweden (47%), the public are most likely to focus on fulfilling their regular financial commitments such as paying bills and rent. This is a lower priority in China (24%), India (27%) and Hong Kong (29%) but it is worth bearing in mind that our samples in these markets have a higher urban bias than our samples in other markets. Given the past year, it is unsurprising that a significant proportion of consumers in each market are saving money for unexpected hardships. This tendency is highest in Indonesia – where our sample is representative of the online, rather than national population (54%) – Singapore (51%), and Spain (48%), but it amounts to comfortably more than a third of the public in every market except Denmark (20%).

Meeting Regular Financial Commitments Saving for Unexpected Hardship Ensuring Family are Adequately Protected Paying Off Debts
Great Britain 49% 35% 27% 26%
Germany 40% 35% 25% 20%
France 39% 42% 31% 18%
Italy 42% 46% 35% 21%
Denmark 36% 20% 19% 22%
Sweden 47% 37% 34% 22%
Spain 55% 48% 35% 30%
Retirement Return to Pre-pandemic Spending Habits Moving Home Purchasing Property
Great Britain 12% 7% 10% 8%
Germany 16% 6% 6% 5%
France 12% 12% 10% 7%
Italy 8% 15% 6% 7%
Denmark 11% 7% 11% 7%
Sweden 11% 7% 10% 6%
Spain 12% 14% 6% 6%

For the complete dataset, and much more, download your free copy of the YouGov Global Banking & Finance Report 2021 now.

Paying off debts is among the more variable priorities: it is especially important in the US (39%) and Mexico (43%) but appears to be a lesser concern in European nations – in France (18%), Germany (20%), Denmark (22%), and Sweden (22%), it’s a priority for just a fifth of the public. Great Britain (26%) and Spain (30%) are two notable exceptions to this. Saving for retirement appears to be the lowest priority for 2021 in all markets except Hong Kong (31%) and Singapore (33%). It is possible that consumers who might have otherwise paid money into a retirement fund have – in the wake of the pandemic – found more urgent uses for these funds.

Outside of saving money and paying debts, a minority of the global public are looking to resume their normal spending habits as quickly as possible – especially in Italy (15%), Spain (14%) and France (12%). Investment is also a top priority in 2021 among nearly four in ten urban consumers in Indonesia (37%) and Hong Kong (38%). Around a quarter of consumers in China (28%), India (25%) the UAE (26%) and Mexico (24%) feel the same. Buying a home is not a top priority in many markets – in fact, in each European country in our study, it fails to break out of single digits – but many consumers may own homes already. Redevelopment or renovation of the home is a top priority for a minority of consumers (17%). During the pandemic, many younger consumers – and those who were living alone – chose to ride out the crisis at their family home, partly to alleviate potential loneliness, and partly for cost-cutting reasons. Our data shows that in some markets, as many as one in ten plan to do so in 2021.

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For the complete research, including a look at consumer behaviour, use of cash, investing habits, and much more, download the complete YouGov Global Banking & Finance Report 2021 now.

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