Bank Austria Investment Barometer for World Savings Day:
The Austrians have to cut down on things

  • Bank Austria Investment Barometer shows a new trend, the savings motives have changed: Less people save their money for big investments such as the purchase of an apartment or a house; an increasing number of people saves money for consumer goods such as furniture and clothes
  • The Austrians prefer safe ways of saving: The number of life insurances and subsidised provisions for the future has increased remarkably
  • World Savings Day remains a “must-attend” event for 1.1 million people in Austria – they plan to go to their banks even though the economic situation has been turbulent

Despite the deteriorating economic situation, consumer climate has suffered relatively little from the continuous headlines about the European debt crisis – people think more about saving than they did six months ago, several recent studies conclude. This development has also been confirmed by the exclusive Bank Austria Investment Barometer, a survey conducted in cooperation with market research institute GfK among 500 Austrians at the end of September.

The savings motives of the Austrians have surprisingly changed towards consumer goods and away from big investments in pieces of real estate or cars. 74 percent of the people asked said their savings motive was making provisions for emergencies (+ 15 percent; 2009: 59 percent). 29 percent of the people said they were saving money to buy furniture (+ 10 percent, 2009: 19 percent). 25 percent of the people said they were saving money to buy clothes (+ 7 percent, 2009: 18 percent). However, only 22 percent (2009: 25 percent) of the people said they were saving money to buy a piece of real estate and only 33 percent (2209: 37 percent) said they planned to buy a car. 

Safety predominates the investment behaviour
Although there has been a significant decline to 75 percent (- 10 percent, 2009: 85 percent), traditional savings products such as savings books, online saving and saving with building societies have been the most popular form of saving in Austria. The popularity of life insurances increased remarkably to 52 percent (+18 percent, 2009: 34 percent), and the popularity of supplementary pensions such as state-subsidised provisions for the future has increased to 45 percent (+ 7 percent, 2009: 38 percent).
“Our Investment Barometer shows that the savings motives of the Austrians have changed towards smaller expenses which the people believe will still be affordable in the future,” said Rainer Hauser, Bank Austria chairman for private customers and SMEs. “The investment behaviour has clearly been predominated by the wish for safety, which is a reason for the boom in life insurances with capital security and in state-subsidised provisions for the future. As a conclusion, you can say that the Austrians have prepared to cut down on things.”

Martin Gölles, the head of Bank Austria Market Research, added: “Other forms of investment such as gold, silver and valuables such as art object and antiques have been increasingly attractive to consumers. Property and immovables are regarded as good forms of investment but there has not been a linear development of the savings motives – because the achievable savings volumes are regarded as insufficient.” 

World Savings Day remains a “must-attend” event for 1.1 million Austrians
At least 1.1 million people in Austria plan to go to their banks on World Savings Day, and another 400,000 people plan to go to their banks on October 31. The visit to the bank is a tradition, children are being accompanied and the little presents are still seen as incentives. About 20 percent of the Austrians regard World Savings Day as a good opportunity to bring their savings to the bank. Bank Austria chairman Rainer Hauser said: “The personal assessment of the savings behaviour shows that people have been able to make more savings in 2011 than in the crisis years of 2008 and 2009. The outlook for the near future may be less optimistic than before, but 6 out of 10 consumers said they would be able to save the same amounts or more in the coming years.”

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
Matthias Raftl, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 52809
E-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at

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