Almost half of young adults expect rising incomes this year

Almost half of young adults expect rising incomes this year


Those aged 18-34 are the most optimistic about their finances and they are likely to invest more in the coming 12 months

London, 30 September 2021 – People across generations are rebuilding confidence about their finances and the RFi Group’s latest Global Digital Banking Survey finds that young adults (those aged 18-34 in our poll) are the most optimistic. Most people (82% of all surveyed) are confident about maintaining or growing their income within the next six months. However, it is the younger generation that shows the highest levels of optimism: 46% of 18-34-year-olds expect their income to increase before the end of the year, compared to 33% of those over 34.

The study of 13,000 adults across 11 markets – Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, UK, and the USA – was in field between April and June 2021, looking at how COVID-19 transformed consumers’ expectations, intentions, and way of life. RFi Group runs the survey twice a year, to derive trends for its financial services clients.

Globally, the survey series confirms a marked rise in people’s optimism towards their income. When asked one year ago how they expected their income to change over the next six months, over half (52%) foresaw a reduction. This year, the proportion of respondents who expect the same drops to less than one in five (17%). This optimism is more apparent in emerging markets: 73% in Mexico, 62% in China and 61% in India expect a rise within six months compared to 18% in Taiwan and 22% in Hong Kong, UK and the UAE.

Reflecting this increased optimism, over one quarter (27%) of survey respondents said they are likely to invest more over the next 12 months. The data points to some striking market differences: in Indonesia, almost one in two (47%) foresee investing more, compared to UAE where only 17% plan to grow their investments while 44% say they are likely to decrease the amount they invest in the next 12 months. Among the eleven markets surveyed, the UK and Hong Kong had the least respondents intending to invest more (15% and 16% respectively). The new consumer is also more cautious and diligent with personal finances. Globally, respondents plan to spend less, borrow less and save more.

The intention to save more and spend less tends to decrease with age. 45% of the 18-34-yearolds say they are likely to save more, compared to 33% of those aged 35-54 and 28% of those over 55 who feel they can say the same. Also, 40% of the 18-34-year-olds say they are likely to spend less compared to just 30% of those 55 and above.

COVID-19 has also changed the way consumers engage with their banks and it has accelerated the shift to digital banking globally. The vast majority of consumers (74%) say they would prefer to use a digital banking channel for day-to-day banking, up 5% from six months ago. When reflecting over what prevents them to adopt mobile banking, those who have not yet made the shift name security as a top barrier (37%). It is top of mind across most markets surveyed and especially in Malaysia (51%), UK and Australia (47%).

RFI Global Powers Financial Services Decision Making

When it comes to managing their money, just under half (47%) of consumers use digital tools. While this is a four-percentage point increase from a year ago (43%), the data shows traditional methods such as spreadsheets and pen and paper continue to be trusted as means of keeping track of finances. Pen and paper are most used in the West, such as in the US (36%), France and Canada (32%) and the UK (31%). Meanwhile, Asia is leading the shift to online tools and calculators, with bank apps being used by 50% in China, 41% in India and 33% in Hong Kong.

In line with the emergence of a more cautious consumer, more than a quarter (28%) of respondents indicate that one of the personal finance management tools they would most value from their bank is one that checks for fraudulent activity. This is especially the case for consumers in the US (40%) and in the UK (37%).

Charles Green, CEO of RFi Group said: “Consumer needs are changing faster than ever. The pandemic seems to have galvanised the younger generations in particular to save and invest more. They tell us they want tools that give them oversight and insight into their finances, from viewing all upcoming payments and accounts to analysis of their spending and saving.

Delving into people’s motivations and thinking helps banks and fintech remain relevant and personalized resulting in great benefits for both. Banks and fintechs have a key role to play in providing tools and supporting banked adults as they rebuild confidence and new aspirations.”

• The data is sourced from the latest Global Digital Banking survey. The survey was in field in 11 markets (Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, UK, and the USA) between April – June 2021.
• Over 1,000 consumers were interviewed online in each market, except for the UK and Canada where 2,000 consumers were interviewed. Survey respondents form a nationally representative sample of the banked population. Respondents in China and India represent the urban banked population.
• Basic quotas were applied to ensure that respondents are representative of the banked population by age, gender, region and income. To qualify as ‘banked’ respondents must hold a minimum of one banking product with a financial institution in their local market.
• Where appropriate, significance testing at the 95% confidence level has been conducted.
• Results have a margin of error of ±2%.
To view additional data cuts, per market and per age group, please ask us (contacts below).

About RFi Group
RFi Group is a global data-driven insights provider covering 48 key global markets and exclusively focused on financial services. With regional offices in Toronto, London, Singapore and Sydney, RFi specialises in data and information gathering, customer-based insight generation and business decision support for the world’s leading financial services providers. RFi combines global intelligence and local knowledge to provide clients with tailored advice and insights relevant to their specific market and business needs. To learn more, visit

For more information, please contact

Stephanie J. Batot, Communications Director
M: +61 492 335 150




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