Covid-19 marks financial coming of age for Kenya’s millennials

Hardest hit by the crisis financially, millennials in Kenya are tightening their grip on their finances and preparing for the future

In Summary
  • Millennials in Kenya are more likely than older generations to be pursuing a financial goal, such as saving for a major purchase or investing better.
  • Despite these challenges, more than one-third of Kenya’s millennials have become more confident they can reach their long-term goal.
Piggy bank used to illustrate being broke
Piggy bank used to illustrate being broke

Ninety per cent of millennials in Kenya found managing their money more difficult since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to Standard Chartered’s latest global survey.

Globally, the group which comprises of people aged 25 to 44 are the most likely to be struggling to meet day-to-day expenses and report higher levels of borrowing in the last month .

Yet, faced with these challenges, the pandemic has galvanised this generation to better prepare for their financial future, encouraging them to make changes to how they manage their money.


The study of 12,000 adults across 12 markets – Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mainland China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, the UK and the US – is the third in a three-part series.

It looked at how COVID-19 has transformed consumers’ way of life, and what changes could be here to stay.

While the first survey focused on the pandemic’s impact on earnings, and the second looked at changing spending habits, the final survey provides new insights into how the global health crisis has altered the way people are managing their money.

64 per cent of Kenyans reported an increase in their borrowing in the past month, the highest out of all markets surveyed.

"Despite significant economic challenges caused by the high rate of unemployment in the country, millennials are still more likely than the older generations to be in active pursuit of long-term goals," said Standard Chartered Head of Retail Banking, Edith Chumba.

Of those who have used new ways to manage their money since the start of COVID-19, most people globally have had a positive experience.

While Kenya’s millennials are more likely than those over 45 to have started using a money management or budgeting app for the first time during COVID-19, it is actually those over 45 who report having the most positive experience using these tools.


But this embrace of new technology to help manage money amid the current economic turmoil may be why millennials are more confident than older generations that they can achieve their long-term financial goals.

Meanwhile, across all generations, the pandemic has made people more careful with their saving and spending and less likely to splurge.