Reading the finance room: Reddit users show due diligence for budgeting and buying

All is not lost for big-ticket purchases providing they are essential, as Reddit’s community becomes more engaged in conversations on spend-tracking and trim back on non-vital buys.

Almost nine in 10 users of conversational platform Reddit research big-ticket products online before taking the purchase plunge, and 73% are breaking traditional budget-cutting behaviour by not delaying big purchases in the immediate future.

Despite the absence of caution for big ticket purchases, if they’re not essential, they won’t make the cut. Non-essential buys are under the microscope for Reddit users, with the platform seeing 16x growth of views to its r/Frugal thread in the year to June 2022 in users’ bids to cut corners, trim “unhealthy” buys, and seek out easy wins.

The findings, from a combination of Reddit’s own research of its ‘Redditor’ user base and surveys by GWI, looked at the sentiment for finances, purchasing and budgets on the Reddit platform.

It found that Redditors were increasingly tracking and comparing spending, with a 34% growth in engagement on its r/MoneyDiaries feed in the first half of this year, while there was an eye to the potential recessionary times ahead, with a 203% growth in mentions of ‘recession’ in career planning conversations.

Reddit on the radar for financial brands?

The research found that 45% of Reddit users in the UK said they made financial decisions based on information they found on the platform, with close to half reporting that they’ve been visiting Reddit more often for financial information and advice.

Across Reddit’s user base, three in four users save throughout the year, and almost three quarters claim to feel either somewhat or completely financially secure. Redditors were also found to be 23% more likely to set budgets for their spending than the average person.

But this didn’t stave away small treats, with the research showing that 48% of Redditors make impulse buys to treat themselves, though mentions of ‘impulse buy’ and ‘splurge’ slightly dropped on Reddit’s feeds in the past six months.

Timo Pelz, VP of Business Marketing at Reddit, said that meeting audiences where they are most ‘leaned in’ is crucial: “When macro conditions put pressure on budgets, consumers become more thoughtful about where they spend their money, and their openness to trial increases as brand loyalty wavers. This means a strategy that targets existing customers to remind them why you’re their number one is just as important as one that seeks to gain market share with new customer deals and offers.

“Engaging audiences where they turn for information about products and services, like online communities, can help accomplish both. These online spaces provide a trusted source of information for people who want assurance that they are making sound decisions about where they spend their money, and are actively seeking out advice and recommendations from others. Brands that get in front of their audiences in these kinds of environments are meeting them when they are most leaned in.”