Asia Pacific are saving up for rainy days ahead, according to the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing
Priorities. A vast majority of consumers in the region (87%) today say that saving is very important or important to them. It is especially a priority
for those earning less than US$10,000 a year (91%), compared with those earning above US$30,000 a
The annual MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities provides valuable insights into consumers’ savings and
expenditure behavior and their discretionary spending priorities for the 12 months ahead. This year’s Index is based on a survey of 6,019
consumers in 14 markets (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New
Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam), conducted between 1 and 29 September 2008.
(97%), the Philippines (97%), Malaysia (93%) and India (92%), have the highest percentage of consumers reporting that saving is either important or very important to them. China, on the other hand,
has the lowest percentage (77%), followed closely by Singapore (79%) and Korea (81%).
Precautionary saving is the top savings
motive for consumers across the region (66%) - Thai consumers are most concerned with saving for this reason (81%), compared with consumers in
Vietnam who are least concerned (48%).
"The strong precautionary motive of holding cash observed in
Asia Pacific is a direct reflection of
consumers' perception of economic uncertainty and their experiences of recent market volatility. Everything else being equal, this is the single
most important factor that determines whether consumer spending will go up or down in the next 12 months," according to Dr. Yuwa
Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at MasterCard Worldwide in Asia Pacific.
purchasing priorities are also being affected by strong precautionary saving. While dining and entertaining as well as personal
travel remain the top spending priorities in virtually all key markets in the region, spending on auto and big ticket item consumer electronics are
conspicuously absent among the top three spending priorities in all the markets surveyed,” Dr. Hedrick-Wong added.
Apart from having an emergency stash, other main reasons for saving are - retirement (45%), investment (36%), and buying property (31%). Not
surprisingly, consumers who are over 30 year of age are more keen to save for retirement than consumers under 30 (53% versus 28%).
Consumers earning more than US$30,000 a year
are also more concerned with saving for retirement than those earning less than US$10,000
per year (59% versus 31%). The under-30 consumers, single, and divorced/widowed are among the most enthusiastic in saving for investment
(40%, 41%, and 49% respectively). The under-30 consumers are also the keenest in saving to
buy property (41%).
• On average, consumers in
Asia Pacific expect to save between 11%-20% of their income over the next 12 months. Less than a fifth (16%) of
consumers expect to save more than 30% of their income over the next year. Close to a tenth (8%) of consumers say they expect to save more
than 40% of their income.
• Consumers in Vietnam (34%), Korea (33%), Taiwan (25%), Singapore (21%), Hong Kong (20%) and China (19%) expect to save more than 30%
of their own income in the next 12 months.
• Regionally, only 8% of consumers admit they expect zero savings in the next 12 months. Consumers in New Zealand, Australia, Korea, and the
Philippines, are the least savings oriented in the region with a little less than a quarter of respondents (22%, 21%, 19% and 16%) respectively
saying that they do not expect to save anything at all over the next year.
• Of the 13% of respondents across the region who did not consider savings to be important, the top reasons for this are that they do not earn
enough to save, they believe in enjoying life now as much as they can, and they have no problems earning money.
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