How did Covid-19 affect the lives of 15,000 people from 11 Ferratum countries around the globe?


Ferratum Research reveals the impact of Covid-19 on consumer spending in Australia and Internationally

International provider of financial services, Ferratum Group, have shared the results of their 12th International Consumer Behaviour Survey, revealing the financial implications of COVID-19 on consumer spending habits in Australia and globally.   

Almost 15,000 households from 11 countries participated in the bi-annual survey and the results revealed how COVID-19 has significantly affected our lifestyles, spending behavior and plans for the future.

This year’s results show that internationally:

  • 66% of the respondents will spend less money over the coming months (Summer in Europe) in comparison to the same period last year,
  • 25% cancelled international travel plans,
  • 15% cancelled their plans of buying a car this year,
  • 10% had plans to purchase a new house but have now delayed these plans to focus on saving versus big spending. 

In Australia, COVID-19 has had numerous implications on our spending:

  • 39% of respondents reported cutting back on spending and 49% indicated they are more cautious of how they spend their money due to the current economic situation,
  • 61% cancelled all travel plans,
  • 21% cancelled their plans of buying a car this year,
  • 9% have delayed purchasing a new home or apartment.

These figures come as no surprise, given 13% of the total respondents indicated that they are currently unemployed due to COVID-19 layoffs, and a further 18% have received a salary reduction for the immediate future.

26% of Australian respondents indicated being concerned about losing their job and 33% had experienced a reduction in salary due to COVID-19.


Social distancing has brought us closer

We may have been apart physically due to social distancing, but COVID-19 has brought us closer. According to the results of the Ferratum International Survey, working remotely has allowed us to build stronger connections with our colleagues, encouraged us develop new hobbies and live a healthier life, and provided the opportunity to nurture relationships with family and loved ones.

During these past months our most common activities included watching TV (15%), videocalls and phone calls with friends and family (13%), spending time outdoors for daily walks or workouts where allowed (11%) and catching up on Netflix and other online streaming (10%).

In Australia, online streaming (15%) took first place, closely followed by watching TV (14%) and videocalls and phone calls with friends and family (13%).

Humans are social creatures and the top two things on our to-do list once social distancing is over includes visiting family (18%) and meeting with friends (16%). Going back to the office  (3%) ranked the lowest on list of what we missed the most during the pandemic.

2020 Big spenders

When it came to the countries that plan to spend the most during 2020 relative to disposable household income, Bulgaria ranked the highest with results showing 86% of monthly income will be spent during the Summer months in Europe (June, July, August). Croatia followed with a result of 72% and Latvia came in third at a 50% monthly expenditure.

Nordic countries (Sweden 31% and Denmark 29%) are set to be the most frugal, with the data revealing that an average of only 30% of monthly income will be spent by residents over the coming three months.

Australia ranked fifth on the scale, with results showing we plan to spend 43% of our monthly salary over June, July and August. This lower figure may be reflective of our spending during the winter months or the impact of international travel restrictions, according to James Logan, Ferratum Country Manager Australia.

“With non-essential travel bans still in place for overseas our data shows that many Australian’s have cancelled they travel plans, with 70% of Australian respondents indicating that they do not intend to travel in 2020. It remains to be seen if Australian’s will replace European travel plans with local ones as this may impact our spending choices.”

Spending less, saving more

28% of the total survey respondents indicated they are planning to spend a maximum of only 200 Euro (approximately 330 Australian Dollars) over the next two to three months and 12% will spend around 1,300 Euro (approximately 2,120 Australian Dollars). Only 3% of respondents across the 11 countries indicated they would spend more than 3,000 Euro (approximately 4,890 Australian Dollars) over June, July and August.

Australia ranks higher than average, with 61% of respondents planning to spend over approximately 2,000 Australian dollars (1,200 Euro) over the next two to three months.

45% of the total respondents plan to use savings to cover expenses over the next three months, while 31% have indicated they will cover costs with a Ferratum Loan.

Australian respondents indicated that 55% of spending will be covered by savings over the coming three months, and 21% indicated they will cover costs with a Ferratum Loan.


Biggest spending during COVID-19 isolation

When asked what they spent their money on the most during isolation, more than 50% of respondents stated groceries (52%) were their main expense, followed by home improvements (13%), clothes and shoes (12%) and personal care products (10%). People also supported local businesses and made the choice to order food takeaway from restaurants (7%).

Australia’s results aligned with international spending, with groceries (54%) taking the top spot for expenses outlayed during the pandemic. This was followed by ordering food from restaurants (14%), clothes and shoes (10%) and personal care products (10%).

“Australian’s continue to spend heavily on groceries and online food orders. With pubs and cafes around the country reopened, it will be interesting to see if our eating and spending habits stay aligned in this way. As winter approaches in the southern hemisphere I think we are likely to see people continue to eat at home, and the data supports that to an extent.” Said James Logan

Cash losing ground as online payments are increasing

Online payments are preferred by 52% of survey respondents, 25% still use cash on delivery and the other 22% opt for bank transfers when ordering online.

Australia (79%) is the second most digitalized country in the world when it comes to online payments, closely following Norway (86%).

Online vs physical shops

COVID-19 and the lockdown has had a significant impact on our preference to shop online in comparison to previous years. 68% of survey respondents answered that for the upcoming months they will opt to continue to shop online (68%) instead of partaking in traditional shopping (32%).

Australia’s results contrasted, with 60% of respondents stating they would choose to commence traditional shopping methods again of visiting physical stores, once the option becomes available. 

Future spending – June, July, August 2020

Respondents from all 11 countries will spend the most money on the following four areas: groceries (23% of the budget), home furnishing (11%), financing children’s needs (10%) and domestic travel (10%).

All countries except Estonia stated that groceries would be their biggest expense over the coming months.

In Australia, 28% of our budget will likely go to groceries, followed by home furnishings (9%), financing children’s needs (9%) and gardening or DIY (9%).

“Ferratums Consumer Behaviour Survey provides insight into the way our lives have been impacted due to COVID-19. Australians’ projected spending’s are significantly different this year in comparison to last. While we are accustomed to seeing international and domestic travel as some of our key expenses, this year the bulk of our money will go toward groceries and home furnishing. As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease we expect our spending behaviours to shift again, and these findings will be reported on in our end of year survey”, concluded James Logan.


How was the Ferratum Group Summer Barometer 2020 ™ Covid-19 edition conducted?

The survey was conducted by the Ferratum Group who surveyed its active customers in 11 countries globally via web survey with a standardised questionnaire. Incomes are stated in local currency, and relative Summer consuming is calculated by the ratio of a family’s monthly disposable income in each country.

Almost 15,000 households participated in the survey. Respondents were aged from 18 to over 61y. 57% of participants were women. The average available net income of participating households was between €827 – €3672. The average household size among the respondents was 3.5 persons.

In addition to demographic factors, respondents were asked about their disposable monthly net income, how the Coronavirus World Pandemic changed their life and spending behaviour, what they spent money on during isolation, what their spending plans are for the upcoming months and what they fear the most regarding Covid-19.


About Ferratum Group:

Ferratum Group is an international provider of mobile banking and digital consumer and small business loans, distributed and managed by mobile devices. Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Ferratum has expanded rapidly to operate in 20 countries across Europe, Africa, South and North America, Australia and Asia.

As a pioneer in digital and mobile financial services technology, Ferratum is at the forefront of the digital banking revolution. Ferratum has approximately 680,000 active customers that have an open Mobile Bank account or an active loan balance in the last 12 months (as at 31 March 2020).

Ferratum Group is listed on the Prime Standard of Frankfurt Stock Exchange under symbol 'FRU.' For more information, visit