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Youthful optimism buoys ASEAN confidence

News, 10 May 2017
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SINGAPORE: Cambodia's millennials are the most optimistic demographic in the ASEAN nations, with their elders not far behind, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence.

The results of the twice-yearly survey, which covers 17 markets across Asia-Pacific, coincide with the World Economic Forum on ASEAN summit currently taking place in Phnom Penh, where youth is one of the themes.

Cambodian consumers were among the most positive in the region about the outlook for the next six months, as those aged below 30 scored 95.4 points on the Index, while their elders (above-30s) scored 92.0; the ASEAN averages, for comparison, were 75.0 for under-30s and 69.5 for over-30s.

This picture was repeated across much of Mainland Southeast Asia. Millennials in Myanmar and Vietnam were also "extremely optimistic", scoring 94.0 and 93.2 respectively.

And older groups in these countries also returned high Index figures – 92.0 in Myanmar and 91.9 in Vietnam.

Thailand's youth, on the other hand, remained well below the regional average, scoring just 63.2 on Mastercard's Index, although this was a rise of 8.6 points from the previous survey. Older Thais, at 70.1 were just above average in terms of their outlook – and this represented the greatest leap in confidence anywhere, as the 10.7 points rise moved them from neutral into optimistic territory.

Thailand was also one of only two countries – the other being the Philippines, where the over-30s were more confident than those under 30.

And, alongside Thailand, the only other market to track sentiment uplifts across both demographics was Indonesia; below-30s saw a 7.1 point increase in optimism to 73.3, while the older generation registered a 9.9 point jump to 69.4.

Older consumers in Malaysia (26.2) and Singapore (22.7) were the most pessimistic about the future, while younger ones were neutral (42.6 and 47.3 respectively).

Over the region as a whole, consumer confidence amongst people aged below 30 had grown by 1.5 points, whilst people above 30 tracked a 2.2 point increase when compared to the first half of 2016.

Data sourced from Mastercard, World Economic Forum; additional content by WARC

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