Australian savers grew their savings balances massively in 2020, with Gen Z in particular - ages 16-24 - saving in their droves.
Up customers have today received their year in review stats - like Spotify's year in review, but for money - and the data shows a massive increase in savings.
According to Up's data, Upsiders (Up's name for its 300,000 customers) increased their Savers account balances by 44% by June 2020 compared to pre-March, and by November their savings balances were up by more than 70%.
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This supports ABS data which shows Australia's household savings rate skyrocketed over Covid from 6% to 19.8%, off the back of extra stimulus payments like JobKeeper and JobSeeker as well as general frugality.
The majority of these recipients also spent their payments on the essentials, with saving being one of the major priorities, particularly among JobSeekers.
Young people were the main recipients of JobSeeker over Covid, and Up's main customer base is the Gen Z cohort, aged 16-24.
Up’s Head of Product Anson Parker said the data shows that younger Australians are trying to stay financially savvy, even during a pandemic and recession.
“Up provides customers with small ways to save money like round-ups and pull to save and we can see this demographic use these tools daily," Mr Parker said.
"We've helped over 50,000 Upsiders hit their savings goals in the last 2 years. They’ve even saved over $24m from their spare change through features like Round Ups and Pull-to-Save.”
According to Up, the main savings goal for customers this year was a car, followed by:
- A house
- A rainy day fund
- Buying new tech, like a new iPhone
Woolworths, Coles and McDonalds were the most popular merchants used by Up customers, while the biggest spending categories were:
- Life admin
- And clothing
With interest rates on savings so low at the moment, Up had previously told Savings.com.au that a unique user experience, such as good data visualisation and features to guide people in reaching their spending/savings goals, were more important than interest rates.
Up co-founder Dom Pym reiterated this point again today.
“We will continue to help customers save by giving them the tools they need to spend wisely and save effortlessly," Mr Pym told Savings.com.au.
"The tools we have now have helped our customers reach amazing savings goals this year, and we’re looking forward to even more in 2021."
Gen Z Up customer Tash Etschmann meanwhile said knowledge is power when it comes to saving.
“How are you supposed to know how to save money if you don't know where or what you're spending it on? It's powerful to see how small changes, such as round ups, compound to result in big savings over the year," she said.
"It's so exciting to see a bank promote goal setting and saving rather than consumer debt."
Up not concerned about other neobanks failing
Yesterday saw some bombshell news: Neobank Xinja announced it would be handing back its banking license and would no longer offer savings and transaction accounts, the first time this has happened to an Australian bank for some time.
Fellow neobank Volt could also be in trouble. After launching late in 2019 promising a 2.15% p.a savings account, it's still in beta, and is yet to launch to the wider public.
However, Mr Pym said Up is not worried, and that customers could still be confident in it.
"Up is in a fortunate position as a collaboration between an Australian technology company, Ferocia, and a fully licensed bank, Bendigo Bank," he said.
"We’re definitely building Up for the long term and adding customers every day.”
Australians saving money on household services, but overspending on food
With Up's data showing food as the biggest expense category, and McDonald's as the third biggest merchant, other data shows Australians overspent on food in 2020.
A survey of over 3,000 Australians by financial advice platform She’s on the Money found 60% of Australians are spending up to $150 per person each week on groceries and takeaway food.
However, the survey found Australians are also readily shopping around for better deals on their household services to compensate: More than half have switched banks in the past two years to save money on their mortgage repayments, for example.
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She’s on the Money founder Victoria Devine said families can save up to $3,000 a year simply by shopping around for a better deal, instead of just paying the bill when they have to.
“Cutting down on food costs is [important] but one of the quickest ways to save money [is] by shopping around for better deals on all household services like electricity, mobile phones, insurance and more,” Ms Devine said.
“There is an increasing number of people who want to feel empowered over their finances and are taking steps to educate themselves about money, many who are highly educated with tertiary qualifications in other fields.”
According to Ms Devine, more Australians are turning to apps like GetReminded, which reminds Australians ahead of time when their bills and contracts are due.
GetReminded Co-Founder Tim Nicholas said the app has seen a 70% increase in downloads in just the past month alone.
“Insurance, mobile phones and electricity are the main areas people are setting reminders so they have the time to find a better deal and save money," Mr Nicholas said.
See here for GetReminded's top tips for saving money on household bills like mobile plans, insurance, and energy bills.
Image source: Up