The trade bloc’s sizeable consumer base is underscored by a young workforce, some 60% of whom are aged below 35. With this favourable demographic structure, together with positive economic trends, it is expected that the average ASEAN disposable income and consumer expenditure are set to further increase in coming years.
Notably, the widespread use of the internet and social media is also having a more influential role in re-shaping the retail landscape in the ASEAN, sometimes blurring the lines between physical and virtual buying channels.
This article provides a summary of major findings of the Survey, allowing companies to have a better understanding of their potential target customers in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
ASEAN Consumer Spending On the Rise
According to Euromonitor International, annual consumer expenditure in the ASEAN will rise to US$1.92 trillion by 2020, 30% above the 2016 level of US$1.47 trillion, and this is equivalent to a healthy average annual growth of 6.8%.
Hong Kong and ASEAN countries enjoy a close trade relationship. In 2016, the ASEAN was Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner and fourth largest export market.
Among the major export destinations within the ASEAN, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam have caught the eyes of many Hong Kong exporters and retailers, thanks to their economic vigour, strong purchasing power, and in particular a fast expanding middle class.
To better understand the spending patterns of the middle class consumers in these five countries, including their shopping motivations and channels, as well as their receptiveness of Hong Kong’s brand products and services, HKTDC Research carried out a consumer survey (the Survey) in the second quarter of 2017 to gather first-hand information.
The Survey was conducted in the five ASEAN countries stated above, covering seven cities, namely Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur (KL), Manila, Jakarta, Surabaya, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Hanoi.
A total of 1,406 completed questionnaires were collected through face-to-face interviews. To qualify as middle-income class consumers in respective countries, all respondents had to be aged 21-60, with monthly household income no less than US$1,000, and have lived in the surveyed city for at least two years.
This article offers an overview of Survey findings, with forthcoming articles focussed on characteristics and attitudes of ASEAN consumers, their spending preferences as well as e-commerce opportunities.
ASEAN Middle Class Consumers Are Sensible Spenders
First and foremost, the Survey revealed that the ASEAN middle class allocated some 40% of their monthly income on discretionary items. In general, respondents…