Savings levels increase for the first time since spring 2011

This winter, savings levels have risen for the first time in two quarters, according to new data from NS&I’s Savings Survey.
  • For Britons are now saving 7.66% of their income, as savings levels increase for the first time since spring 2011
  • The population is saving more in real terms, with the average Briton putting away £95, the highest amount since spring 2011
  • Despite this, 6.4 million Britons are still without any savings.

This winter, savings levels have risen for the first time in two quarters, according to new data from NS&I’s Savings Survey. The data shows that by February 2012, Britons were saving an average of 7.66% of their income, an increase from the 7.31% they set aside three months before. This improvement comes on the back of a difficult year when savers struggled. Between spring 2011 and autumn 2011, the average amount of income saved fell one percentage point from 8.31%.

Britons are now saving an average of £95 a month, the highest amount since spring 2011 and an increase from £88 at the end of 2011.

John Prout, NS&I Retail Director, said:

“While many people found saving a challenge last year, our data shows that there has been an improvement in recent months. With saving reaching its highest levels since spring 2011, it appears that people are taking action and committing to setting more money aside for the future.”

Women appear to be almost entirely responsible for this increase. On average, women are now putting away 8.38% of their incomes, compared to 7.54% in autumn 2011. This represents an increase of 0.84 percentage points in savings levels quarter on quarter. By contrast, the savings rate of men is almost unchanged, putting away 7.21% of their incomes compared to 7.20% in autumn 2011.

Women are motivating themselves to save by using goals, with nearly one in three (30%) women using savings targets compared to a quarter (26%) of men. NS&I research shows that people who use savings goals save an average of 44% more than those who do not.

John Prout, continued:

“Our research shows that savers who set specific goals stand to reap the rewards. Setting an objective is a great way to keep focus, even if you only save a small amount towards it each month. Many of us could be doing a lot more to manage our money better and it’s never too late to look again at your finances. Why not use the new financial year in April to act as motivation to improve your savings?”

Despite the recent increase in the nation’s savings levels, millions of people are still vulnerable should they need money in an emergency. This winter over a fifth (21%) of Britons, or 10.38 million people, have less than £1000 in savings and, more than one in ten (13%) have no savings at all. People aged between 45 and 54 appear to be facing a particularly challenging time, saving just 5.88% of their incomes, the lowest of any age group. In real terms they are saving an average of just £82 per month, over £10 less than the national average.

Further help and information on savings tips and personal finance are available on the Money Advice Service website.

Notes to editors

About this research

The most recent NS&I Savings Survey was conducted by TNS, among 2,441 respondents between 31st January – 9th February 2012. We also refer to NS&I Savings Surveys with data collected by TNS on 14th – 21st April 2011 (2,597 respondents), 28th July – August 1st 2011 (2,580 respondents) and 1st – 7th November 2011 (2,519 respondents). The survey has been running every quarter since winter 2004, and is a snapshot of how the nation is saving.

About NS&I

NS&I is one of the UK's largest financial providers with over 26 million customers and over £100 billion invested. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury. NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order.