UK consumers are the world leaders in hoarding savings during pandemic lockdowns that have closed opportunities to shop and travel, according to a survey in 17 countries.
Findings from pollster YouGov Plc highlight one of the biggest questions economists are trying to answer. How quickly households spend their disposable money – estimated at £ 250 billion ($ 347 billion) in the UK and € 500 billion ($ 596 billion) in the eurozone – will determine the strength of the recovery after the pandemic recession.
About a third of people in the UK have increased their savings since March 2020, similar to Denmark’s level but much higher than in the US, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia, YouGov said. His results were made available to Bloomberg.
Most of the people said they would only spend a portion of the excess money. Less than 15% said they would spend the majority of their money, but that figure was almost 17% in the UK, YouGov said.
The results revealed growing optimism, with households in most countries expecting to be better in 12 months than they are now. Most have complained about a hard blow to their finances since the pandemic, led by India.
“The Danes and the Swedes performed the best among all the countries in the survey,” said Emma McInnes, head of the global financial services sector at You.Govt. “In the eight European countries studied, some did better than others. Two in five people in Italy and Poland have seen their household financial situation deteriorate, which is significantly higher than in France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
The survey of nearly 19,000 people was conducted from May 14 to 28. It included over 1,000 people in every country except Hong Kong where the sample was about half that size. In the US and UK, over 2,000 people were surveyed in each.
In the countries surveyed, most people took on debt, dipped into savings, or cut non-essential spending. Less than a fifth was able to save more, YouGov said. This adds to the evidence that it is the wealthier households that have been able to save money, while most people have suffered.
“Many people around the world have had to deal with concerns and changes related to their finances, such as concerns about job security and new patterns of spending and saving,” McInnes said.
India and Mexico have been the hardest hit, with around half of people saying their household finances have shrunk.
For the UK, the survey fuels the prevailing view that the economy is heading for a strong recovery from the worst recession in three centuries. The Bank of England expects the biggest increase in consumer spending since Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.
People’s willingness to spend pushed inflation above the central bank’s 2% target for the first time in nearly two years. Retail sales jumped at a record pace in April when stores reopened. Spending shifted to restaurants and bars in May when hospitality venues were allowed to serve customers inside.
YouGov’s survey indicated that consumers in most cases anticipate better days to come.
“Typically, in most countries and regions surveyed, a greater proportion of people expect their finances to improve rather than decrease,” McInnes said. “There are notable exceptions like Singapore, Hong Kong and France. “
– With the help of Lucy Meakin