Consumer Spending: YouGov research shows why brands will need to work hard post-lockdown

Delivery - man handing over paper bag (containing a purchase) to another man at his front door

YouGov’s deep-dive research reveals that consumers have made some important adjustments to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic; a crisis that has left many out of work, stuck at home, and facing uncommon financial strains across the globe.

Matt Palframan, YouGov's director of financial services research comments "On the surface of things, it looks like the COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact on people’s finances in many countries, but we know all too well how the average can often mask the reality. Further work that we have done in Great Britain that measures levels of financial distress and over-indebtedness, reveals that a minority of consumers are struggling more now than they ever have been. This group were struggling before the pandemic and have been impacted the most by it."

Indonesia   72%
Italy   56%
Mexico   55%
UAE   53%
Poland   51%
Singapore   51%
Spain   50%
China   50%
Hong Kong   50%
France   49%
India   49%
Australia   44%
USA   41%
Great Britain   37%
Sweden   35%
Germany   28%
Denmark   20%

Markets where consumers are actively reducing expenses

Most notably, in several markets, the majority – or a significant minority – of consumers are actively limiting their expenditure: ranging from a fifth (Denmark: 20%) to comfortably over half (UAE: 53%; Italy 56%) of the adult public. In Indonesia, the figure is as high as 72%. COVID-19 has provided a number of plausible reasons for this reduced spending.

Yet reduced expenditure may also relate to a general lack of options: people who are discouraged from or unable to travel, to eat lunch at a quick-service restaurant, to watch films at the cinema or to socialize in bars simply have fewer non-essential things to spend money on.

The COVID-19 cutback? Consumers set to continue limiting spending in future

Whether consumers are restricting non-essential expenditure out of choice or not, they intend to continue doing so in future. The only countries where a clear majority do not plan to cut back are Germany and Denmark, where 45% and 46% respectively believe they will slim down their outgoings. However, across the rest of Europe most consumers (58% – 86%) anticipate restricting their spending.

In each of the APAC nations featured in our study, at least two-thirds of consumers (69% - 87%) plan to cut their costs going forward. By next year’s study, we will have a better idea of the extent to which they have delivered on these intentions.

Get the complete research, for free

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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