In a recent study with colleagues from Argentina, Chile and Colombia, we measured the impact of the pandemic on the population’s financial and consumption habits.
Quarantines, social isolation, emerging costs for both sanitation and health consumables, and the permanent feeling of being at risk have affected people’s financial and consumption behaviour and habits, along with their mental health and subjective well-being.
We aimed to describe the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on financial and consumption habits and behaviours in these countries, in order to identify financial behaviour and consumption profiles during the pandemic, characterizing them by sociodemographic and country variables.
The results demonstrate the increased use of credit to pay for basic services, as well as the late payment of fixed expenses.
The increase in late payments, and the use of credit for everyday essentials, indicates the fragile financial situation of the participants in our study, with more than 50% unable to cover their expenses in a financial emergency.
This has likely had an impact on consumer spending, which demonstrates the reality of more austere practices among consumers who are concentrating on essentials and seeing a decrease in impulse purchases, the latter of which saw a notable drop from 40% to 10%.
- Moda, industrias y retos del shopper marketing The principal concerns of the sample are based on contracting the illness, rather than being able to pay for basic expenses.
Given that most of the sample is middle class, these results reveal the fears of a segment that depends on their work and has no other assets.
This is consistent with other studies that establish that uncertainty levels at such a time increase the levels of distress and anxiety associated with changes in daily life, where, within the framework of COVID-19, the illness is seen as disrupting security.
The data show that the fears in the population under study are linked to factors of economic instability, which trigger levels of uncertainty and increase anxiety levels.
Finally, this study reveals a wide panorama of implications for the middle classes in Latin America, which grew significantly in the last decade, but which since the pandemic are likely to see a reduction in income.
This outcome further questions the ambiguities in the definition of the indicators associated with the Latin American middle class and focuses our attention on the vulnerability that a significant part of the region’s population still endures.
These implications are especially important in the Colombian context, since the pre-pandemic scenario was marked by protests as evidence of social dissatisfaction at social inequality.
Considering this context, it is worth delving further into the impact on individuals and families undergoing situations of social isolation, as well as the devastating effects of the pandemic on the economic functioning of most countries, and how this could alter populations’ financial and consumption habits.
David Van der Woude
Docente investigador CESA
Tomado del artículo próximo:
“Financial and consumption habits and behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A short-term study of Argentina, Chile and Colombia”
*The final sample was comprised of 1,184 participants, with a predominance of women (69.5%). The average age of the respondents was 39.57 (SD= 12.33) years and the distribution by countries was 42.1% from Chile, 30.3% from Colombia and 27.6% from Argentina. The sample was grouped by middle (22.1%), lower middle (54, 5%), and upper middle (17.1%) socioeconomic level. Regarding family size, 64.5% of participants live with two or more people, while 35.5% live alone or with one other person. Regarding the participants’ educational level, 73.3% have higher education, while 14.4% have secondary education.