Younger Chinese shift from spending to saving amid COVID-19
By Ying Junyi and Zhu Feng
Young Chinese aged between 18 to 34 are saving more money every month for their retirement, which brought up the savings-to-income ratio by 5 percent to 25 percent in 2020, compared to a year ago, a recent study revealed.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and its disruptive effects on economic activities have made people more aware of their financial status, said the study conducted jointly by investment services provider Fidelity International and Alibaba's wealth management platform Ant Fortune.
For 27-year-old travel enthusiast Ling Keqin, the lack of spending channel due to the COVID-19 has made him save more instead of spending on his hobbies.
"I have been saving money for two years. I usually save around 8,000 yuan every month, and there is over 200,000 yuan in my account now. I like traveling, but it's quite hard to travel now due to the pandemic. So I decided to save money for trips when travel restrictions are eased. Many people I know are also saving money now," Ling said.
The change can also explain the frugality of his peers as observed by Yu Ning, professor of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, whose study subject is China's urban development and population.
"We now see young people saving more money than before. That's because the COVID-19 outbreak has somehow changed their consumption patterns and socializing patterns. For example, to keep social distance, young people are spending less on outdoor activities like group dining. So they will be able to save more money. And the fall in consumption choices during the COVID-19 outbreak has also made young people spend smarter. We think this trend will continue for a long time," Yu said.
Apart from passive saving during the outbreak, there are those who save for more practical reasons. Among them is 27-year-old Jin Luhao who said his saving purpose was for marriage and family spending.
"Previously, I saved money as I needed a lot of things for the wedding. But now I save money for family expenses. After getting married, I find there are more things that I need to spend money on. So I think it's quite wise to save money," said Jin.