The pandemic might just have helped us learn how to manage our money better, recent research suggests.
Technology and research company Toluna conducts regular market and consumer analysis in their pursuit of ‘Understanding the 2021 Consumer’. Their latest study, which surveyed over 1,000 UK respondents, looked at how the pandemic has changed our financial habits.
Their conclusion? Covid-19 has helped a lot of people realise the importance of budgeting, saving and understanding money. For many, COVID-19 has been a major catalyst for financial change.
Working towards better financial health
One of Toluna’s key findings was that the pandemic has helped people manage their money better. Not only the money they are saving but also how they’re spending it when they do. In fact, Brits turned their focus heavily towards savings during the coronavirus lockdowns, determined to shape up their finances.
Of the people surveyed:
- 44% said the pandemic has made them save more money
- 35% are focusing on their budgeting
- 27% want to turn their attention to paying off debt
- 19% are researching long-term investments
Michael Worledge, head of financial services at Harris Interactive explains: “Many people have been financially impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and repeated lockdowns, demonstrating the importance of being money savvy and ensuring our financial health is as strong as it can be.”
Optimism around spending
Perhaps more surprising among the changes the pandemic has brought about is growing optimism around managing money. Toluna’s survey shows that 65% of UK residents are looking forward to spending their money again. Most will prioritise spending on basic everyday things rather than luxuries.
Of the people surveyed, a large number are looking forward to returning to their usual activities. High on the agenda were shopping, eating out and using services that have been closed for a while:
- 43% want to go back to their favourite shops for some “real-life” shopping
- 36% can’t wait to return to their favourite restaurants for a sit-down meal
- 35% are missing their hairdresser more than anything
The takeaway lessons
Overall, the pandemic has had a significant impact on how people manage their money. Almost half of Brits had no savings pre-pandemic, and those who did were forced to dip into them to get through the difficult times. Since then, many have built their emergency funds and increased their net worth.
During their research, Toluna also found that customers are focusing on local brands more than ever this year. They’re also prioritising independent brands in an effort to support small businesses through the COVID-19 lockdowns. And while 44% of shoppers say they miss shopping in person, many are using online shopping to support their favourite local brands.
“Although the economic impact has been great, and we’re far from out of the woods yet, at least people have become more financially responsible as a result,” says Worledge. “People are trying to save more and wanting to get rid of debt which will help to create a more secure and financially resilient future.”