SINGAPORE: Increased affluence and rising environmental awareness are reshaping popular habits in Asia, exerting an especially noticeable influence on the consumer durables category.

Research firm GfK reported that value sales of household appliances in nine major regional markets surged by 23% from January to October 2010 when measured against the same period in 2009.

Volumes also climbed 19% across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Shoppers in Indonesia and Philippines boosted their spending by more than 60%, while Thailand and Singapore generated increases topping 30%.

Unit purchase totals leapt by over 50% in the Philippines, with Indonesia improving 42.3%, Thailand jumping 22.1% and Vietnam delivering a 20.8% uptick.

Meanwhile, prices rose by 19.5% in Singapore, 14.5% in Indonesia and 9.8% in Thailand, indicating the broad potential offered for brand owners in this sector.

"With Asia leading the growth in home sales globally, it is not surprising to see heightened demands for household appliances in this part of the world as well," said Jasmine Lim, regional account director for home appliances, GfK Asia.

Air conditioner sales have expanded by around a quarter in volume and value terms during the year to date, as "inverter" models boasting sound green credentials proved especially popular.

"Consumers these days are more well-informed and conscious about environmental issues," Lim said.

"The future of the home appliance industry will significantly be shaped accordingly and we can expect more environmental friendly appliances occupying a substantial proportion of the market."

Increasing levels of wealth have also fuelled a move towards "sophisticated, higher-end products", like double-tub washing machines and multi-door refrigerators, GfK said.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff