Money4 December 20213 minute read

Lending in lockdown: Here’s what Aussies financed during lockdown

During Australia's 2021 lockdowns, the borrowing habits of Aussies demonstrated some interesting trends, including increases in borrowing for renewable energy projects, cars and boats.

At this point in the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all hardwired to dread the words “unprecedented times.” But these unprecedented times, while frustrating, offer us a peek inside the habits of consumers in uncommon circumstances. Let’s take a look at how lockdowns have impacted the borrowing habits of Australians.

Before 2021, virtually all of us had thought once or twice about what we’d do with unlimited time at home. With the onslaught of the pandemic, millions of people around the world got to test out that very reality. With so much extra time at home for non-essential workers, many of us had the chance to spend time considering our financial priorities and goals. 

For Plenti borrowers, those priorities came down to three popular items: solar panels, boats and cars. 

Renewable energy: Up 23% during lockdown

During the several-month lockdown (July to October) we funded 23% more renewable energy loans than we did during the same timespan prior (March to June). So, why the increase during lockdown? We’ve got a few ideas.

  1. Time at home: One of the most common obstacles for homeowners interested in going green is the perceived complication of the process. With increased time at home, people become more aware of their increased energy usage and the lack of renewable energy is more top-of-mind. This keen awareness likely had an impact on many homeowners who were already considering adding a solar energy system to their home. 
  2. Existing trends. While the demand for solar certainly grew during lockdown, it aligns with the overall uptick of solar. Solar energy is a significant industry in Australia – in fact, 1 in 4 Aussie homes already have solar panels. So the trajectory of solar adoption is a positive and continuing trend.

Boats: Up 25% during lockdown

During lockdown we funded 25% more boat loans than we did during the same timespan prior. 

This one, we think, has a pretty clear explanation: while sitting in lockdown, plenty of people decided to seize the moment and make that exciting purchase they’d been putting off. For many, it seems, that purchase was a boat. Another key trend also came to light during the lockdown period for NSW and VIC, when more Queenslanders purchased boats than people from all other states combined. It’s not surprising, given that Queensland never entered a prolonged lockdown, but it’s notable that this was the only significant state-specific trend that emerged during the period. 

Cars: Up 21% during lockdown

During lockdown, we funded 21% more car loans than we did during the same timespan before lockdown.

This trend is interesting given that the increase was consistent across both locked-down states and those without restrictions. Given the global chip shortage making car buying more difficult, it’s encouraging to see Australians continuing to find and purchase their dream vehicles. 

Wrapping up 

As life returns to normal, we expect to see further increases in borrowing across these verticals and others. With renewed freedoms, millions of Australians are eager to get that home renovation kicked off, go green with solar panels, take that dream holiday or plan that wedding they’ve been imagining. And no matter where the trends go, Plenti will be here to help everyday Aussies bring their big dreams to life – lockdown or not. 

A note on our data:

This data was collected using Plenti internal figures and is not reflective of the lending industry as a whole. In addition, these numbers may differ from those released in our Q2 Update because they are based on lending trends measured from 1 July 2021 through 15 October 2021.


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Written byAmanda Laviana
Amanda is a copywriter and content strategist, with extensive experience in the software and technology space.
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