New research from consumer credit reporting agency, TransUnion finds that almost eight in 10 South Africans (79%) say their household income has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The survey also found that one in ten (10%) of impacted respondents have already lost their job as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A third of impacted adults have had their work hours reduced, the research showed.
TransUnion has initiated a survey of adults (18 years old and over) in South Africa and abroad to better understand the financial impact of Covid-19 on consumers.
The initial survey of 2,001 adults found that some generations, particularly Millennials (those born 1980 to 1994) and Gen X (born 1965 to 1979), have been harder hit financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.
While 89% of consumers who have had their household income impacted by Covid-19 are concerned about paying their bills, this increased to 92% for Millennials and 95% for Gen X.
On average, respondents said they will be short about R7,000 in the near future. When looking at the timing of any expected shortfall, 45% of all impacted consumers say it will be longer than one month, but less than three months, while 23% expect to feel the impact between two to four weeks from now.
“Whether it’s their health, financial well-being or changes in day-to-day living, the lives of millions of people in South Africa and abroad have been dramatically changed. In times like these it is important that we all come together to address these challenges for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and the economy as a whole,” said Lee Naik, CEO TransUnion Africa.
In response to the financial challenges caused by Covid-19, 29% of South African consumers said they planned to use their savings to pay current bills.
A smaller number (22%) said they would borrow money from a friend or family member. Additionally, 27% do not know how they are going to pay their bills or loans and 33% will only pay a partial amount that they can afford.
Two in five (40%) people financially impacted by the pandemic said they had already reached out to companies they have accounts with to discuss payment options.
“Consumers are facing many unexpected challenges and it’s natural that people are concerned about their finances. Our survey showed a large number of households are already under considerable pressure,” said Naik.