Luxury trends mixed in Asia

28 September 2011

SINAGPORE: Consumers in India and Singapore are planning to boost expenditure levels on luxury goods, but many of their Japanese counterparts intend to cut back in this area, a study has found.

MasterCard, the financial services provider, polled 6,022 adults from eight countries: India, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

A majority of shoppers in Singapore and India expected either to increase or maintain spending rates on exclusive products in the coming 12 months, leading the charts on this metric.

Consumers from the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand were not only less enthusiastic, but even among those keen to buy, most pegged their likely outgoings at under $1,000, and will primarily make acquisitions on sale.

Turning to higher-priced items commanding over $500, a 51% share of Singaporean contributors would like to snap up such offerings in the next year, ahead of Lebanon on 30%.

Malaysia posted a score of 20% on this measure, with Indonesia on 8%.

Elsewhere, the study revealed a quarter of the panel in Japan expect to reduce their expenditure in the next 12 months and fewer than 5% plan to adopt the opposite approach, largely due to changing attitudes after the recent natural disasters hitting the country.

"It is the most buoyant and resilient economies that can afford to spend on luxury items and India and Singapore would certainly fall into that category," said Porush Singh, an SVP at MasterCard Worldwide.

However, Japanese shoppers hold the greatest value among all the featured nations, with a typical outlay of $4,000 per year. Their peers in India, Lebanon and Singapore also anticipate investing over $2,000 each.

Similarly, 40% of participants in Japan spent two-to-six months researching purchases, as did 39% of Indonesians and 29% of Singaporeans. By contrast, 48% of Lebanese respondents and 34% of Indians made decisions on impulse.

Almost 40% of interviewees already owned a minimum of one premium product, with Indians usually focused on jewellery, while designer clothes, leather goods and watches proved popular in Japan and Singapore.

Currently, 57% of shoppers in Singapore possess at least a single item valued at over $500, reaching 50% in Japan and 46% in India, but just 23% in the Philippines, 22% in Malaysia and 8% in Indonesia.

Data sourced from The Moodie Report; additional content by Warc staff