A McCann Worldgroup study has revealed that Asian consumers are more individualistic, pro-globalisation, and more suspicious of social media than ever. The wide-ranging report explores some of the attitudes that are taking hold across the continent.

This is according to an exclusive WARC report on the research, a quantitative global brands study conducted across 29 countries and surveying 24,000 respondents. Of them, 8,400 came from nine APAC markets (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia). This edition (2018) of The Truth About Global Brands study follows an original 2015 survey by the same name.

McCann Worldgroup’s regional planning director Judd Labarthe, who was presenting the findings at an event in Singapore, reported that APAC’s consumers feel more disconnected than almost every other country. With 49% of respondents in the region saying that they don’t feel like they belong to any particular country or culture – “by far the highest” across all six regions surveyed, Labarthe said.

That said, APAC appears to be positive about globalisation. While 31% of respondents from the rest of the world said it has threatened the way they want to live, 85% of APAC respondents said globalisation has expanded opportunities for them. In fact, only 15% of respondents in APAC said it has posed threats to how they want to live.

There are other threats. “Across Asia-Pacific, 75% of people agreed that social media… may have turned out to be something far different that’s not very helpful at all,” observed Labarthe. Three in four APAC consumers agree that social media was created to bring people together, but now divides them.

Collectivism may be less applicable to Asia than is widely ascribed: 67% of APAC respondents agree they need to focus on themselves before they can focus on others: “In Asia, home to all those collectivist cultures we’ve been reading about, two thirds of people are saying, ‘Actually, I need to focus on myself’.

“This is comparable to the rest of the world, with 71% of respondents agreeing with the same statement,” Labarthe reported. Some of the most dramatic shifts towards individualism took place in China (from 34% in 2015 to 56% in 2018), the Philippines (62% to 81%), India (62% to 81%) and South Korea (67% to 78%).

Sourced from WARC