2 in 5 Brits feel worse off as belt tightening bites

Nia Williams

August 19, 2010

That’s the worrying finding of new research by comparison site Gocompare.com, which looked at consumers’ views on their personal finances, the economy and what they are doing to save money.

Nearly 25% of respondents said they really needed to make cutbacks to make ends meet yet 12.8 million consumers (27%) haven’t switched provider for any of the twenty most common financial products in the last 12 months. In fact over 3 million consumers (6.3%) admit to never even checking or comparing their financial arrangements once they’ve set them up.

This study found:

  • Just 17% of consumers compared their energy deal in the last 12 months
  • Just 12.8% of consumers compared their savings accounts in the last 12 months
  • Just 11.6% of consumers compared their broadband deal in the last 12 months
  • Just 10.1% of consumers compared their bank account in the last 12 months
  • Just 7.2% of consumers compared their mortgage in the last 12 months
  • Just 4.6% of consumers compared their land telephone line deal in the last 12 months

When it comes to the products we loathe to leave, the bank account is the product we’re least likely to switch and ditch. In fact, when it comes to financial products some Brits are very loyal indeed.

  • 36.5% have never switched their bank account
  • 21.9% have never switched their mobile phone supplier
  • 17.8% have never switched their mortgage lender
  • 17.4% have never switched their credit card provider
  • 15.8% have never switched their home insurance provider
  • 15.5% have never switched savings accounts
  • 14.97% have never switched their broadband provider
  • 14.4% have never switched their land line phone provider
  • 14.0% have never switched their ISAs
  • 11.5% have never switched their car insurer
  • 11.27% have never switched their energy provider

The question of whether companies such as banks and insurers really do save their best deals for ‘brand new customers only’ split the nation right down the middle. Half of consumers agreed to some extent that companies rewarded loyalty by offering better deals to existing customers than new customers and the other half disagreed.

However, perhaps the awful truth comes with age, experience and having your savings rate eroded. 62% of consumers in the 55+ age group disagreed that loyalty was rewarded with better deals compared to 37% of 18 to 24 year olds. Perhaps we live and learn.

John Miles, business development director of Gocompare.com, said: “With the economic downturn biting hard, many consumers are now struggling to make ends meet so it’s important that everyone does all they can to save money on their household bills, and ensure whatever savings they have are working hard for them.

“You could make yourself hundreds of pounds a year better off by taking control of your finances and regularly comparing your financial products.

“Make insurers, banks and energy providers work hard for your custom and remember that these days, years of loyalty are often rewarded with higher insurance premiums, lower savings rates and the least competitive energy tariffs.”

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