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Consumers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and
Africa regions – especially those who are younger - are saving up
for a rainy day.
According to the latest survey from
MasterCard, the proportion of younger consumers below the age of
30 who are saving more in the days ahead is higher than that of
77% of consumers below 30 plan
to save either the same or more in the next six months, compared
to those between 31 – 45 years (73%), 46 -55 years (72%) and those
aged 56 years and above (71%).
In 8 of the 21 markets surveyed across the region, a
majority of consumers are looking to save more in the coming six
months. Topping the list of savers is Vietnam, with 52% of
consumers intending to save more over the next six months. This is
followed by India (47%), United Arab Emirates (47%), South Africa
(47%), New Zealand (46%), Philippines (45%), Qatar (44%) and
At the other end of the spectrum, Egypt has the highest percentage of consumers planning to save less at 63%.
In Egypt and Taiwan (39%), the majority of the consumers are
looking to save less. The majority of consumers in the rest of the
markets intend to maintain their level of savings.
Uncertainty over the economy and hence the need to be prepared for
unforeseen emergency expenditures (71%) is the top reason cited
by consumers who are planning to maintain or increase their
level of saving in the next six months. Thailand (95%) had the
highest proportion of consumers concerned about the economic
uncertainty, compared to China (48%) with the lowest proportion among markets in the region.
“Saving levels are a leading
indicator of consumers’ future spending patterns. A lot of
households save so that they can spend later on the purchase of
large ticket items. From this perspective, such savings are
merely indicators of future consumption. Precautionary savings
are, however, qualitatively different. They represent a net
subtraction of total spending because funds are put aside
and untouched when people worry about the future. Therefore,
precautionary savings affect consumer spending in ways that other
forms of savings don't,” said Dr. Yuwa Hedrick Wong, economic advisor, Asia
Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide.
“Our latest survey shows that the
percentage of households saving for precautionary reasons has
gone up. While the increase is slight, we are still seeing an
uptrend and this has implications in terms of consumption in
Apart from having an emergency
stash, the other main reasons for saving are for investing
(46%), retirement (45%), and buying property (40%).
reasons for consumers saving less are because that they feel they
do not earn enough to save (61%), high inflation (34%) and
simply because they believe in enjoying life now (29%).
Egyptian consumers feel the strongest about not earning enough to
save (82%), followed by Thai consumers (81%) and South African
The majority of the region’s consumers save
between 1 – 10% of their income (27%), followed by 11 – 20% of
their income (22%). 9% of the region’s consumers do not
intend to save any of their income.
Market Highlights from Asia Pacific and the
Market Highlights from the Middle East and South Africa
are so detailed we have devoted a whole page to
The MasterCard survey is based on a survey of
9,211 consumers in 21 markets, conducted between 23 March and 18
April 2009. Markets surveyed include Australia,
China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United
Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
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