Rise in number of Britons who say they are saving more due to coronavirus pandemic

However, one in four are having to use up their savings and young people most likely to have had to borrow money or access their savings

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Managing Director, Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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A new survey by Ipsos MORI, looking at the financial measures taken by people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, finds that the proportion of Britons who say they have been saving more money due to the coronavirus pandemic has risen from 38% in October to 47% this month.  However, this is not the case for everybody, as one in four (27%) say they have had to access money from their savings, rising to a third of younger Britons (33% of 18-34s vs 20% of those aged 55-75).  Across the board, young people are more likely to have had to borrow money from family and friends, use credit cards more or access an overdraft.  People from ethnic minorities too are more likely to have had to use an overdraft or borrow from (and lend to) friends and family.  

Overall, according to the survey of 18-75-year olds, Britons are most likely to have spent less money due to the pandemic.  Fifty-six percent say they have already done this, up 5 percentage points since October 2020, while almost half (47%) have saved more money (up 9ppts). 

Financial measures taken due to the CoronavirusHowever, it has not been as easy for all. A quarter (27%) have had to access money from their savings to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Just over 1 in 10 (12%) have accessed a new credit card while 16% have spent more than they usually would on a credit card. Fourteen per cent have borrowed money from friends and family with a similar proportion accessing money through their overdraft (15%). 

Only 5% of people have requested their mortgage payments to be temporarily stopped.

Younger age groups are more likely to have taken extra measures to cope with the pandemic. A third (33%) of 18-34s have accessed their savings compared with 20% of those aged 55-75. One in 5 (22%) of this age group have accessed a new credit card, compared with 9% of 35-54s and 6% of 55-75s, (older age groups may also be more likely to have had a credit card before the pandemic). 

Financial measures taken due to the Coronavirus: bye ageTwenty-three per cent of 18-34s have spent more than usual on a credit card while 26% have borrowed money from friends or family, double the number of 35-54s who have done the same (12%), and much more than the 4% of 55-75 year olds. Similarly, a quarter (24%) of those aged between 18 and 34 have accessed money using their overdraft, compared with only 16% of 35-54s and 5% of 55-75s. 

Ethnic minority groups are also significantly more likely to have already borrowed money from friends or family (26% vs. 12% of White Britons), lent money to family or friends (30% vs 20%), used their bank account’s overdraft (22% vs. 14%) or accessed a new credit card (18% vs. 11%). 

Financial measures taken due to the Coronavirus: by ethnicityKelly Beaver, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos MORI, said:

The pandemic has been a tale of two parts for the British publics finance, for some it has been a time to save, whilst others are forced to look for additional financial support. Age plays a significant role in this divide, with the younger generations more adversely impacted and, therefore, more likely to be accessing new credit cards or dipping into savings, whilst the 55-75-year olds are significantly more likely to be saving.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a sample of 1,078 adults aged 18-75 in Great Britain using its online i:omnibus between9th and 12th April 2021 (including 136 people from ethnic minority groups). Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age, working status and social grade within gender, government office region and education.  All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. For more information please contact the team at https://www.ipsosomnibussurveys.com/
     

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Managing Director, Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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