COVID rocked the financial stability of many young Europeans. Here are three things you should know as they try to get their finances back on track…
The pandemic threw a wrench in European Gen Z and Millennials’ work lives (along with everything else), causing some instability and anxiety at a crucial time in their financial maturity. Among 16-24-year-olds, unemployment in the E.U. rose from 15% in 2019 to 16.8% in 2020, according to the Institute for Employment. Meanwhile, YPulse’s recent personal finance and services report found that 43% of Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe say that COVID had a negative impact on their finances, and 21% say that because of COVID, they became more stressed when thinking about money.
As the world slowly gets back to normal, though, young consumers are bouncing back. Sixty-five percent of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe now tell us they’re currently employed, with older Millennials most likely to have a job—81% 25-39-year-olds say they’re employed. The majority of young Europeans also report feeling positive about their financial futures, and many say COVID spurred them into financial responsibility: one in five say they became more interested in having emergency funds on hand because of the pandemic, and 15% say they became interested in investing.
With this growing interest in their finances (and their growing financial influence), it’s important for brands to understand exactly what European Gen Z and Millennials’ personal finances look like. Here are three things you should know now:
The majority of young Europeans are worried they won’t meet their financial goals.
Despite the fact that most young Europeans report positive feelings associated with money, 57% are concerned about their financial futures. That’s even higher among Millennials, 60% of whom expressed worry compared to 50% of Gen Z. What’s more, the majority have no investments or savings, adding another layer to their anxiety—the exact same amount that report concern (57%) say they have no investments, while just 47% say they have an emergency savings fund, despite the fact that the vast majority agree with the statement, “Saving money is important to me.” Millennials are far more likely to say they have both investments and savings, with 49% of 21-39-year-olds having some kind of investment (compared to 26% of 13-20-year-olds) and 50% having emergency savings (compared to 38% of Gen Z). Among those who do have investments, cryptocurrency is proving to be the most popular, followed by stock funds and real estate. Meanwhile, most young consumers are making their investments the old-school way—through their banks—with investing apps and websites coming in second.
And nearly three-quarters are interested in learning how to improve their finances.
With so many young Europeans worried about their financial futures, it makes sense that 74% are interested in learning how to reach their goals. In fact, 82% have already sought financial advice. And while the majority turn to family and friends for advice (and trust their loved ones’ advice the most), unconventional sources of financial guidance are growing increasingly popular, including (surprise, surprise) TikTok. The social app’s #investing hashtag has racked up 3.7 billion views, for instance, while other iterations (including #investingtips, #realestateinvesting, and #investing101) have added up to billions more. Videos promoting day trading and “get rich” quick tips (which, it should be noted, professional financial advisors have expressed concern over) are especially popular—and they’re already having a big impact. Cryptocurrency Dogecoin saw its value rise 40% after it went viral on TikTok, for instance, and “finfluencers” have become the latest online celebs. Meanwhile, UK fintech company Tally reported that its TikTok ads are 300% more effective than Instagram for pulling in new users. Though just 24% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe say they are turning to the internet/financial media for advice, the fast rise of these online resources means more probably will—and provides an opportunity for brands to step in and add expert input.
Nearly half are using digital financial services.
In YPulse’s recent fintech behavioral report, we explored how young U.S. consumers’ digital preferences are continuing to reshape the financial world, fueling trends from peer-to-peer payment services to robo-advisors to digital financial resources that provide financial advice with little to no human interaction. This, of course, is not just happening in the U.S.—46% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe say they’ve used a financial resource online, through an app, or via software. These digital financial services have grown even more popular in Western Europe since the pandemic began, and though Millennials are more likely to say they’re using them than Gen Z (50% vs 34%), many new digital financial resources have popped up to reach the younger generation at the start of their financial journeys. French startup Vybe, for example, targets European teens with a card paired with an e-wallet and IBAN—and parental input, if needed. Meanwhile, German fintech startup Wajve is offering Gen Z daily financial insights and easy access to student loans, and U.K. startup Quirk helps young professionals manage their money “according to their personality.” According to Fanbyte, 44% of Gen Z are open to using fintech resources instead of traditional brands, and with the generation already commanding over €120 billion in global spending power, they’re primed to push finances fully into the digital age.
YPulse Western Europe Business users can access the full personal finance and services behavioral report and data here.
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