New data released by market research company YouGov reveals that most of us are falling into three camps when it comes to our savings over the last year: those whose pot has grown; those whose reserves have shrunk; and those who have experienced no change in their savings at all.
The research conducted shows that as many as a third of Britons have managed to increased their nest egg since the pandemic began last year, gaining a median of £4500. However, a fifth of those surveyed have experienced a drop in their savings, on average by £3000. That equates to dipping in and removing approximately £250 per month. And while 33% of respondents said there had been no change to their savings, 11% revealed that they didn’t have any before the pandemic and still don’t.
Different sectors, different results
These average figures can be broken down by type of work. YouGov reported a marked difference in the amount saved depending on industry. Of those who undertake more professional work, 38% increased their personal savings over the last year. This is compared to 23% of those who tend to do manual work.
Although not the only reason, one factor in this may be the link between professional roles doing more work from home. Over the last year, they have been able to save on things such as commuting costs, those early morning flat whites, lunches out and post-work trips to the pub. Those who have still been travelling to their place of work won’t have had the luxury of being able to squirrel away some of those easy wins.
Will any of this help the economy?
While there’s certainly a way to go with regards to bouncing back from the pandemic, the research suggests that funds built up over the last year may support at least some of the recovery. Around 20% of recipients said they would spend half or more of what they’ve put aside if restrictions are lifted this summer. Half (51%) revealed they’d spend some but not all of their hard-earned savings, with a more reserved 21% having no plans to spend any of what they’ve put away.
It seems younger people will be most keen to splurge what they’ve saved, with a quarter admitting they’ll spend half or more of what they’ve accrued in the last year. This figure is higher than any other age group.
The future of saving
Only time will tell how Covid-19 has affected our financial habits going forward but when asked, on average 26% of Britons said they hope to save more when normal life resumes compared to what they were putting aside before the outbreak. A tenth believe they will save less than they were able to pre-pandemic.
When comparing future saving behaviour to the past 14 months, there is again a clear difference between the savers and those who were not able to increase their funds. When broken down between these two groups, 19% of the savers would like to put aside even more following the lifting of restrictions, compared to more than a third (34%) of those whose savings reduced. Lifting of restrictions for this latter group, it would seem, will have a greater positive affect on their pot.
More than a third (36%) of the savers don’t believe they’ll be able to keep pace with their pandemic saving levels, possibly indicating a greater likelihood of spending once things start opening up.