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 ASEAN ANALYSIS

                                                                                                                           Asean Affairs August 14, 2013  


Asia Pacific consumers are most worried about the economy
 
High level of concerns towards inflation in Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand; Aussies are most careful spenders

13 August, 2013, SINGAPORE – Economy-related matters appear to be on top of the list of concerns for today’s Asia Pacific consumers. According to the latest global survey by GfK, two in every five surveyed are worried about recession and unemployment as well as inflation and high prices, and at the same time, one in three said they are concerned about having enough money to live right and pay the bills.

While consumers in Singapore (65%), Thailand (55%), China (51%) and Indonesia (39%) expressed their greatest anxiety towards inflation, those in Taiwan (57%), Korea (51%) and Japan are mostly worried about recession and unemployment. Meanwhile, the topmost concern of half of the Australian respondents revolved around their personal finances. Crime and lawlessness also rank among the top four worries in the region, particularly in

Malaysia (67%), Vietnam (55%) and India (51%).

“Economic conditions have in most cases stabilized, but there is a significant level of uneasiness around various areas,” said Jodie Roberts, Regional Director for GfK Consumer Trends. “There are other areas which also registered significant levels of concern but only in specific countries, such as drug abuse in Thailand (55%) and Indonesia (37%), cost of healthcare in Singapore (42%), and educational quality in China (33%) and Indonesia (32%).”

GfK polled over 40,000 consumers aged 15+ across 28 countries, including 11 from Asia Pacific - Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the latest additions of Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Approximately 1,500 respondents per market were surveyed on their attitudes, behaviors and values across a range of topics.

The survey also revealed that consumers have been treading carefully when it comes to their regular expenses as seen in their conscious reduction in spending on various aspects of their life. In their effort to cut cost, the first that most often will be struck off from their list of regular activities is dining out at restaurants, something which over a third (34%) of respondents said they have done in the past 12 months. Nearly a quarter (23%) also stated buying less clothing and shoes.

Along the similar theme of saving money, GfK also uncovered the prudence exercised by consumers of different countries on where to spend their cash. Given a list of money saving strategies which included using coupons, using less or going without an item, shopping at discount stores, purchasing energy-saving products, buying in bulk to get greater discounts, switching to cheaper brands etc, findings revealed that the Australians, Koreans, and Taiwanese are the most careful spenders in the region as they consciously implement saving strategies. For instance, Aussies are more inclined to shop more carefully for daily necessities (63%) and postpone purchases until the product was on sale/special offer (63%); and Koreans (73%) along with the Taiwanese (67%) have used a coupon.

“In markets like Australia where there has been some economic uncertainty – and particularly where cost of living is so high, consumers have become a lot more cautious about how they spend their money,” said Roberts.

“An important point for companies to note is that these behaviors remain even as the economic environment improves, and thus companies which are able to deliver on value – which is not necessarily about lowest price – will benefit from this consumer trend,” Roberts concluded.

The consumer insights detailed in this article are drawn from in-depth analysis of GfK’s largest, longest-standing and most robust consumer trends study in the world – Roper Reports? Worldwide. The latest survey was conducted in Jan-Feb 2013.

About GfK
GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, around 13,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK’s sales amounted to €1.51 billion.

To find out more, visit www.gfk.com or follow GfK on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gfk_en



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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

 


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