Will COVID-19 cause recession?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
June 11, 2020, 4:38 PM GMT+0

Affluent Americans are convinced the recession has already begun, whereas affluent Germans aren’t too concerned about the economic effects of the spread of the virus

YouGov Affluence Perspective polling of wealthy adults* around the world reveals what concerns them most about the COVID-19 pandemic: looming recession, and whether local economies will be able to survive.

How concerned are the wealthy about the virus itself?

Concern over the spread of the virus varies greatly across the countries examined in our latest survey, with European nations particularly split. At the top end are wealthy adults in Spain and Italy, 77% and 70% of whom respectively say they are either extremely or very concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

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At the other end of the spectrum are France and Germany, where just 54% and 36% of wealthy adults respectively say they are concerned.

The UK sits somewhere in the middle, with two thirds (66%) of wealthy adults (those who have a household income of £100,000 or over) being concerned, similar to the US (69%).

Are we headed for recession? The well-off think so

The pandemic has had a profound effect on the economies of the nations in its grip, and wealthy adults overwhelmingly predict a recession is on the horizon in their respective countries, if it has not already begun.

Canada (63%) and the UK (63%) are top for affluent adults who think a recession is near, with 32% in both countries think the recession brought on by the pandemic has already begun.

Affluent Germans, despite having the lowest concern for the virus spread by a wide margin, are expecting a recession (54%), a third (33%) think it is coming, and only 13% think the country will be spared an economic downturn.

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Affluent adults in Spain and Italy are split over whether recessions in their countries have begun or have yet to come – compared to France and the United States where the majority of affluent adults say the recession has begun for them already.

One nation which bucks the trend is China, where most affluent adults (56%) do not believe the virus will lead the country into a recession, however a quarter (26%) do think one is on the horizon.

Confidence in the economy is low among the rich

As well as prediction of recession, affluent adults across the world are also concerned about the ability of their local national economies to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

Overall, Europeans are least confident in their respective economies, with 76% of affluent Italians saying they are not very or not confident at all their economy will cope. In neighbouring France, 69% of affluent adults say they are not confident in the French economy, to varying degrees.

Here in the UK, 60% of affluent adults are not confident to some extent that the economy will be able to cope, on par with the 63% who are expecting a recession in the near future.

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One European nation upsetting this pattern is Germany, with only 29% of affluent Germans lacking confidence in their economy, compared to 30% who are confident their economy will be able to weather the COVID-19 storm. This is despite most affluent Germans also predicting a recession.

Two in five (41%) of affluent Chinese adults think the Chinese economy will also be able to cope with the pressures of the pandemic, making them the most confident nation of the countries examined in this survey. Only a quarter (24%) aren’t confident in the Chinese economy.

*Please note, the minimum household income that defines affluent adults in each country, all in local currencies :

UK: 100k

US: 200K

Canada: 150K

China: 250K

France: 100K

Spain: 90K

Italy: 90K

Germany: 100K

Learn more about YouGov Affluence Perspective here

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