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Over a third of British consumers say they’ll never save or invest for their retirement

Seven in ten say they will not save now or in the future to buy a second home, start a business, fund having a new baby or fund higher education.

London – 10 Feb 2014 – Over a third of British consumers (37%) say they’ll never save or invest for their retirement – compared to just 22 percent of people globally – according to a new study by Nielsen.

In addition, over a third (36%) of Britons have no confidence they will meet their financial goals either by sticking with their current savings and investment plans or by changing them in the future. Britons, however, are more confident than Europeans as a whole (46%) in achieving their financial goals but less confident than people globally (31%). Europeans are the least confident in this regard among the five regions measured.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies polled more than 30,000 Interneti respondents in 60 countries to evaluate how consumers around the world are preparing for current and future financial expenses. Nielsen evaluated 16 different saving and investment strategies used to fund a range of 14 long- and short-term financial goals. ii

Britons who are currently saving or investing are doing it for many different reasons. Most popular is to cover household emergencies (38%), followed by saving/investing for retirement (31%) and for personal luxuries (27%) such as cars, holidays or watches (see chart). Choosing to save/invest now for personal luxuries is much more popular than saving/investing in long-term goals such as children’s future, leaving an inheritance (both 19%) and higher education (10%).

In comparison, people globally are almost three times more likely than Britons to be saving/investing for higher education (28%) and almost twice as likely to be doing so for their children’s future (34%).

Nielsen senior vice president for financial services in Europe Eleni Nicholas explains: “Britons appear much less involved in saving and investment activities than other consumers around the world. Our analysis shows the British are engaging in activity to meet, on average, just two-and-a-half financial goals, compared to four goals globally. Although retirement is high up on Britons’ lists, it’s still much less of a thought than it is around the world.

However, intention to save/invest in the future is much greater

Across 13 of the 14 financial goals measured, British consumers say they are more likely to engage in investment/saving activity in the future than they are now. Saving for unexpected household emergencies is the only exception.

The biggest gap between British consumers’ current investment/saving activity, compared to their proposed future activity, is being able to fund health issues (15% now, to 36% in the future) followed by moving up the property ladder (11% now, to 31%) and addressing the loss of job/income (from 18% to 34%).

Second home, starting a business and new baby are least important financial goals

Seven in ten (71%) Britons say they’ll never invest or save to be able to buy a second/holiday home or to start a business, closely followed by being able to fund having a new baby (69%) or funding higher education (68%).

Nicholas again: “British consumers’ lack of confidence in their finances, and perhaps their ambitions, is revealed by the fact they’re three times less likely than the average person globally to currently be saving or investing to start their own business. The 71% of Britons who say they’ll never do this is significantly higher than the 40% globally. Whether this is simply part of our makeup or down to our infrastructure or legislation, this gulf in entrepreneurship is something that needs to be addressed to avoid the UK economy falling behind in the years to come.”

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Saving and Investment Strategies was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers, and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Survey, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands.


i While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.

ii The 14 goals evaluated included: health issues, unexpected household emergencies, higher education, children’s future, marriage, loss of job/income, first-time main home property purchase, retirement fund, personal luxury purchase, having a baby, financial legacy, starting a business, upgraded property purchase, and second-home/vacation property purchase.