Parents pressured to overspend

European survey of consumers shows influence of social media

Parents are bowing to social pressure, spending more money on their children than they can afford, according to the latest European Consumer Payment Report from Intrum.

The 2017 report found almost a third of UK parents (31%) have experienced social pressure to buy something for their children that they feel they couldn’t afford during the past year. Most of them (96%) have acted on that pressure and bought something as a result.

Of those UK parents experiencing social pressure to spend, 18% said they have bought a car for their child. This is higher than elsewhere in Europe, where the average was 9% citing a car as the item they have felt pressured into buying.

Intrum, the pan-European credit management firm, surveyed 24,401 consumers from across Europe, including 1,044 in the UK, for its annual consumer payment report. This year the report focuses on the driving forces behind consumer overspending.

“Our analysis demonstrates how social pressure can result in unsound, long-term indebtedness. With the many options for credit that exist today, and the social pressure people report, we need to do more to create trust and teach every new generation how to spend responsibly,” says Mikael Ericson, CEO and President of Intrum.

The report reveals not only that a third of all parents feel exposed to social pressure to overspend, but that young parents (aged 18 to 34) are especially vulnerable. More than half (53%) of this group reported feeling social pressure to overspend on their children.

Social media plays a key role in creating this pressure, not only for parents and young people. Almost a third (30%) of Brits of all ages agree that social media creates a pressure to consume more than they should. 

Related to the question of overspending, there is clear evidence that credit consumption is rising. Intrum has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who feel it buying on credit is acceptable. Over a third (37%) of Brits now think it is acceptable to buy goods such as TVs or computers on credit, up from (27%) two years ago and 32% in 2016.

“Credit is an important part of a functioning society, but we need to ensure it works well for all. Our analysis shows consumers are vulnerable to overspending and social pressure to spend,” concludes Mikael Ericson, CEO and President of Intrum.

About the European Consumer Payment Report 2017

The survey collected responses from 24,401 respondents between the ages of 18-65, in 24 European countries. Questions concerned household finances and the survey was conducted during September 2017.

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