Global Financial Behaviour: Spending and Saving Attitudes

The proportion of adults who believe they are no good at saving money varies widely, even across key Western European markets.

In Germany, 31% of adults believe they are no good at saving money, compared to around half this proportion (16%) in Spain and France. British adults are caught somewhere in the middle at 22%. 

One reason for the disparity in Europe may be the fluctuating fortunes of these respective countries’ economies, with Germany and Britain emerging from the economic crisis strongly, but Spain in particular still struggling with economic woes. 

It seems there is, however, a difference between not being good at saving money and spending money without thinking. Germans appear to feel they could always scrimp and save more, accounting for the high proportion who believe they are not good at saving money. But they generally draw the line at the notion that they spend without thinking (only 8% agree – see chart).

Notably, in some of the BRICS markets, agreement with spending money without thinking is far higher even than in Britain, reflecting the sense of economic optimism in these markets that ongoing high rates of growth will have fostered. In China, for example, 30% of adults agree that they tend to spend money without thinking and in India the figure is 41%. 

For international marketers, understanding these global fluctuations in consumer financial attitudes is crucial, revealing the relative likelihood in different markets of consumers to really think about a purchase before making it, versus being more impulsive. 

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