Keeping up with the Influencers: Compulsive social media browsing sees young Brits sacrifice £900m worth of savings* a year

05 September 2018
  • Young Brits are checking social media an average of 30 times a day, with four in 10 saying they ‘couldn’t live without’ it
  • 53 per cent admitted their bank balances would be in better shape without temptation from their social feeds
  • 52 per cent believe that social platforms should be used more positively, encouraging people to save rather than spend
  • Barclays has partnered with lifestyle influencer, Jasmine Cecilia Jonas, for advice on how to get the most from social media without compromising your financial future

Social scrolling is not only draining young Brits time, but also leaving a dent in their pockets according to new research from Barclays.

With the average 15 – 24-year-old now checking their social media accounts an incredible 30 times a day, the research revealed that temptation is taking its toll. Over half (53 per cent) of young people admitted that their bank balances would be in better shape if they weren’t constantly exposed to the latest celebrity and fashion trends served up in their social feeds and a third (33 per cent) confessed they would prefer to spend less than they currently do.

Of the poll of 2,000 UK young adults, 51 per cent revealed they’ve bought items, gone on days out or visited places, from restaurants to holiday destinations, off the back of celebrities or influencers endorsing them on their feeds. This has led to a collective spend of £3billion** a year (£398.76 each), with over a fifth admitting to sacrificing savings to fund their purchases. 

However, whilst social media spending is on the increase, so is the demand for more advice and support on how to save money, with over half of those surveyed (52 per cent) saying that they would like to see this type of content on their news feeds.

To encourage a generation of savvy savers, Barclays has partnered with lifestyle influencer, Jasmine Cecilia Jonas, for advice on how you can keep up with the influencers without sacrificing saving for future:

Jasmine says, “It sounds simple, but my advice is to always spend within your means. It’s very easy to flick through an influencer’s feed and see a ‘dream lifestyle’ that you wish to lead too, but many people don’t realise that the majority of clothes, holidays and experiences that are displayed have actually been given as gifts.

“Although I too have moments of weakness where I splurge on clothes and other frivolities, I always try to see the bigger picture. A throwaway item may grant a moment of pleasure, but it’s no comparison to a house, a car or a holiday. Saving a little bit of money each month really does go a long way to achieving those longer-term goals and having that little bit of contingency money is essential.

Clare Francis, Savings and Investments Director at Barclays, said: It’s easy to see why so many of us enjoy social media and, when you’re stuck on your morning commute, it can certainly provide a welcome distraction! However, it’s important to keep in mind that the influencers’ feeds you see are not real life and much of what you see will have been gifted for free. But trying to mirror it ourselves could come at a significant cost to our bank balances and future savings goals.

“While it may seem important to have the latest must-have items now, think about whether they’re worth the trade off with money you could be putting away for future goals, from going on holiday with your friends, to starting to build up that deposit for your first house.

To help consumers avoid the spending temptations of social media, Clare Francis and Jasmine Cecilia Jonas have compiled the following savings hacks:

Sleep on it

Almost 7 in 10 (68%) millennials admit to loving online shopping and a third (30%) said they regularly look at celebrity/ influencer accounts for shopping inspiration. However, instead of purchasing items on impulse, take a moment to consider whether you really need it. Whenever you feel the urge to buy something on social media, ask yourself, “Can I afford this right now?” Or, “Do I have other things that I need more?” If you really want something, sleep on it for a night. You may find it doesn’t seem as essential the next day!

Ditch the apps

If you want to steer clear of temptation, have you considered removing your shopping and social media apps from your phone? It’s amazing how much less attractive a ‘boredom browse’ becomes when you need to login through your browser.

Turn those notifications off

Turning those pesky notifications off should hopefully mean that you’re less likely to check social media, in turn saving you from being drawn into the cycle of scrolling and potentially buying.

Take a picture

If you’re saving for something specific like a holiday with friends or a deposit for a house, why not put a photo of your goal as the backdrop on your phone. Having this visual reminder will help motivate you to stick to your saving goals and not splash out on non-essentials.

Work out your priorities

If you are struggling to make ends meet at the end of each month, go back to basics and look at what you have coming in each month, and then take away what you need to cover any vital expenses like rent or mortgage payments, mobile phone contracts etc. This will give you a clear picture of what you’ve got ‘left over’ each month for your enjoyment, but also to put towards your future. Even putting aside just £5 each month into an ISA will build up to give you a nice savings buffer.

Divvy it up

It can be easy to ‘dip into’ the money you need for bills, or what you wanted to save that month when it all sits in one place. So why not split it up? You can set up a monthly standing order to redirect anything as small as £1 straight from your current account into a savings account on pay day, keeping that money safe from temptation. 

Set a timer

Social media has many positive benefits such as keeping in touch with friends, and we all enjoy a bit of lifestyle inspiration. But, if you know you are guilty of ‘boredom browsing’ (and then buying), why not set a timer to keep your social sessions short and sharp. 

Live by your means

It’s easy to get sucked into the glamorous lifestyles of influencers and celebrities on social media, and it’s natural to want to emulate them. The important thing though is to always live within your means. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy that new trendy item you wanted. Neither does it mean you can’t go on that exotic beach holiday. It just means don’t do it all at once, and make sure you have enough leftover in case of an emergency.

Find another distraction

43% of millennials admit that they couldn’t live without social media. However, many of us turn to social media and online shopping as a default entertainment when we’re bored. When you have the urge to scroll, why not put on a film – your bank balance will thank you!

Check out what you’ve already got

It’s so easy to get enticed by items we see online, especially clothes, when in fact we have a very similar - if not almost identical - item already hanging in our wardrobes. Fashion is so fast these days that it’s easy to forget about the hidden gems we already own.

Have a clear-out

If you’re guilty of regularly succumbing to the latest trend, soften the impact on the bank balance by having a clear-out at home and selling clothes you no longer wear or things around the house you don’t use – not only will it help clear space for your new purchases, you might also be surprised by the amount of money you make to pay for them. In turn this means you’ll have more money left at the end of the month to put into your savings account.

The top sacrifices millennials make due to their online spending:

  1. Putting Money into savings -20%
  2. Eating Out – 18%
  3. Socialising with friends – 16%
  4. Going out -13%
  5. Food – 10%
  6. Saving for specific goals i.e. a house – 9%
  7. Holidays – 8%
  8. The Gym – 7%

*£900million figure calculated from £3billion figure (below). Based on 30% of 15-24 year olds that claim to sacrifice putting money into savings and save for life goals (e.g. buying a house) to fund their online shopping habits.

**£3billion figure is the projected figure 15-24 year olds spend through social media a year. Calculated by multiplying the average mean total value of potential savings (£398.76), by the total population of 15-24 who use social media (7,709,154).

An online survey was conducted by One Poll Research among 2,000 adults the research fieldwork took place in June 2018. One Poll Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.