SINGAPORE: While women in Southeast Asia are generally prudent in their purchasing decisions, a new survey has found Vietnamese women to be the exception.

Hakuhodo, the Japanese agency, analysed data from its most recent Global Habit survey to examine the lifestyles and shopping perceptions of Southeast Asian women aged 20–34 in the six southeast Asian cities of Jakarta, Metro Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

It said that this group tended to compare prices before buying and to make planned purchases. But these habits scored relatively lowly among the women surveyed in Ho Chi Minh City, reported Campaign Asia-Pacific.

In addition, this was the only city where more than half of women favoured luxury brands and preferred design over function. They were also more sensitive than others to fashion trends and to consider that high quality meant high price.

Ho Chi Minh City was also notable for the high proportion of women who highlighted window shopping as a hobby or leisure activity (58%). Hakuhodo noted that this city, along with Bangkok (53%), had shopping perceptions that showed "glimpses of happy shoppers".

Family was the most important for women in five of the cities, especially Metro Manila and Jakarta, where more of this group was likely to be married. The exception was Bangkok where generosity and warmth were most valued.

A separate survey covering affluent Asian women in the same age group, from Agility Research & Strategy, said they represented "significant potential for brands keen to participate in the growth of the luxury and premium travel [sectors] in Asia".

They found their respondents to be discerning in their purchasing, considering product quality in relation to price as the most important parameter.

As well as high expectations as regards quality of service and product, they were looking for exclusivity and uniqueness. European brands dominated across the fashion, watch and auto sectors, as these consumers were prepared to pay a premium for the heritage of the brand, and for the quality and craftsmanship of the product.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Campaign Brief Asia, Agility Research; additional content by Warc staff