Are Brits using their savings during the lockdown?

Over a third of Brits have had to dip into their savings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Lockdown measures imposed by the government on 23rd March closed down many businesses and sent others into economic downturn. This pushed the unemployment rate to a record high and impacted millions around the UK. But can the average British household cope with a sudden loss of income? The short answer is no.

Since the start of the lockdown, over a third of Brits have had to dip into their savings to make ends meet. However, 2 in 5 Brits (40.93%) don’t have enough money to be unemployed for a full month. We’ve done some research to find out which areas in the UK have the least amount of savings and whether gender and age have an effect on a person’s frugalness.

Quick stats

  • Overall, 35.60% of Brits have had to use some of their savings since the lockdown started.
  • Those who have had to dip into their savings have used an average of £1,421.64, which is 21.04% of the UK’s average savings pot.
  • The average Brit has £6,756.81 put away for a rainy day.
  • 9.05% of Brits have no savings at all.
  • 40.93% of Brits don’t have enough savings to live for a month without income.

How much savings do Brits have?

The majority of Brits have some savings, with almost 4 in 5 (78.35%) having something put away for a rainy day. The average amount saved per person is £6,756.81, although a lot of people don’t have this much.

Despite 17.20% of the population having over £20,000 stashed away, 29.05% have less than £600 put aside. Some (6.50%) aren’t aware if they have any savings, or how much they have if so, while 9.05% have no savings at all.

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How long would these savings last?

Personal finance experts commonly recommend having 3 months worth of living expenses saved up, which for the average Brit would be £4,701. Worryingly, 40.93% of Brits don’t have enough savings to last a month, leaving them at risk if they ever become unemployed.

How long they can last without pay Percentage of Brits Number of Brits
Don't have enough for 1 month withouy pay 40.93% 21,446,069
Have enough money to last 1 month without pay 3.93% 2,056,831
Have enough money to last 2 months without pay 3.93% 2,056,831
Have enough money to last 3 months without pay 38.63% 20,240,792
Don't know how much savings they've got 6.50% 3,406,217

How much savings are we using during the lockdown?

Over a third of Brits (35.60%) have had to dip into their savings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These Brits have used an average amount of £1,421.64, which is 21.04% of the average amount saved in the UK.

Current savings Savings used
£6,756.81 £1,421.64

Gender differences

More UK men (36.84%) than women (34.44%) have been digging into their savings lately. Of those who have started to use their savings since the lockdown, the average man uses more than twice as much as the average woman. On average, men have used £1,941.47, while women have only used £898.38.

This could be due to the fact that women have less savings in general – £6,086.69, compared to £7,450.34 for the average man.

Regional differences

Out of all the regions, Londoners have the biggest savings accounts (£7,945.28 on average), followed by those living in the East of England (£7,681.01). Perhaps due to the high cost of living, Londoners have also had to dive into their savings the most. 45.24% have done so, and they’ve also had to spend the most of their savings, at £2,518.99 each on average.

The lowest average savings can be found in those from Northern Ireland and the North East, who have saved, on average, £4,110.66 and £5,674.44, respectively.

The residents who have been lucky enough to have to dig into their savings the least live in Wales, where only 28.28% of the citizens have needed their savings to help support them. They’ve spent on average £291.52 each.

However, the citizens of Northern Ireland have used the least of their saved income, with 38.33% of residents using just £263.54 on average.

Region % of people who have been using their savings
East of England 32.78%
East Midlands 38.57%
London 45.24%
North East 37.04%
North West 34.39%
Northern Ireland 38.33%
Scotland 30.12%
South East 37.10%
South West 30.12%
Wales 28.28%
West Midlands 34.95%
Yorkshire and the Humber 34.20%

Generational differences

Out of all the generations, baby boomers are the generation that has the most saved, with an average of £9,758.54 per person. The second-highest savings are with the silent generation, who is sitting on £9,497.96 on average per person.

Those born after 1996 (gen Z), who have been working the shortest amount of time, have the smallest savings accounts, with £2,530.71 on average.

Since the lockdown started, millennials (born 1981-1996) have been spending the most money out of their own savings, at £1,847 on average. However, gen Z is the generation that has the highest percentage of people using their savings recently, with 58.10% needing to use some of it.

The generation that has dipped into their savings the least is the silent generation, with only 16.18% doing so and only £105.64 taken out on average.

Generation Average current savings
Generation Z (Born after 1996) £2,530.71
Millennials (Born 1981-1996) £4,614.04
Generation X (Born 1965-1980) £6,160.57
Baby boomers (Born 1946-1964) £9,758.54
Silent generation (Born 1928-1945) £9,497.96

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Onepoll in May 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

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