A quarter of consumers in more debt than last year – exploring data across 18 markets
May 12th, 2023, Kineree Shah

A quarter of consumers in more debt than last year – exploring data across 18 markets

In a recent YouGov survey, consumers from 18 international markets were asked to reflect on their financial standing, specifically whether they feel more in debt now compared to the start of 2022. The results reveal a diverse range of opinions, providing insight into the current global economic climate.

Over a quarter (28%) of consumers agree with the statement that they are more in debt now than at the beginning of last year. However, nearly half (46%) of consumers disagree, indicating a greater sense of financial stability for many. To further understand these perspectives, we delve deeper into the data by analyzing experiences across different markets.

In Asia, the YouGov survey uncovers varying levels of agreement on increased debt across different markets. The highest level of agreement is observed in the UAE, with two in five (39%) consumers feeling more indebted compared to the start of 2022. This is followed by India (36%). Other markets, such as China (22%), Singapore (20%), and Hong Kong (20%), show a lower level of agreement with only about one in five consumers feeling more in debt.

European markets display a diverse range of opinions as well. Spain, France, Poland, Britain, and Italy show similar levels of agreement, with around one-quarter (25% to 27%) of consumers feeling more in debt than they were this time last year. On the lower end of the spectrum, Germany and Denmark report the least agreement among the European markets surveyed (18% and 17% respectively).

In North America, two in five consumers from Mexico say they are more in debt compared to the start of 2022—the most across all markets surveyed. In Canada, one-third (34%) of consumers agree with the statement, but the proportion is lower in the US (30%). It is worth noting that the agreement levels in all three North American markets are higher than several European markets, reflecting distinct economic conditions and perceptions in this region.

When examining the data based on income levels, the level of agreement with the statement "I'm in more debt now than I was at the start of last year" is unsurprisingly higher globally among lower-income consumers (33%) in comparison to middle-income (27%) and higher-income consumers (24%). A similar trend is observed in the US, where one-third of lower-income consumers agree that they are more in debt now (33%). This proportion decreases as income levels rise.

In Britain, although the level of agreement is still highest among lower-income consumers (33%), the difference between middle-income and higher-income respondents is less pronounced (25% and 26% respectively).

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Methodology - YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 512 and 2034 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in February 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

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