Asia's affluents pose unique demands

23 September 2011

BEIJING: Luxury and financial services brands need to adapt their strategies in Asia, where many wealthy consumers are considerably younger than is typically the case in areas like the US and Europe.

HSBC, the banking group, and Nielsen, the research firm, surveyed over 4,400 "affluents" in eight countries, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Singapore.

They reported that the average person in China boasting liquid, investible, assets of at least RMB500,000 ($78,296) is just 36 years old. A 64% majority of this audience is also male.

"They're all in their 30s - the wealth accumulation phase," Bruno Lee, HSBC's Asia Pacific head of wealth management, told Bloomberg. "You will not be surprised to see this group of people becoming bigger and bigger. At some point, it's possible that the number will surpass that in the mature markets."

Indonesia took second place on this metric, as the typical age of high net worth individuals (HNWI) was 38 years old, versus 39 years old in India and 48 years old in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere, the analysis revealed 20% of China's HNWIs were unmarried, the joint biggest score alongside Australia, falling to 12% in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Another finding from the study was that China contains the largest amount of households defined as DINKs, or "double income no kids", on 18%, declining to just 2% for Taiwan.

In terms of average net worth, affluent consumers in Singapore possessed liquid assets reaching $158,000, ahead of their counterparts in Hong Kong, on $128,000.

DBS, the Singaporean financial services provider, and the biggest bank in Southeast Asia, has recently announced plans to spend $250m across the region in the next five years as it seeks to attract HNWIs.

Tan Su Shan, head of wealth management at DBS Group, said: "High net worth individuals differ in their investment preferences, risk appetite and needs."

CLSA, the brokerage specialist, and Julius Baer, the private bank, have also predicted that the number of affluent consumers in Asia would rise from 1.2m in 2010 to 2.8m in 2015.

"Over the next five [to] ten years, the growth in high net worth will be structurally a much stronger story in Asia compared to other parts of the world," Amar Gill, head of special projects research at CLSA, said.

Data sourced from Bloomberg/Independent; additional content by Warc staff