Consumers in Asia — especially those aged below 30 — are expected to increase their already high saving rates, dampening hopes that Asians will spend more to offset the trade imbalance between the East and the West, a survey released yesterday by MasterCard Worldwide showed.
Some 77 percent of respondents aged below 30 in 21 markets plan to save at either the same rate or a higher rate over the next six months. Meanwhile, 71 percent of respondents aged 56 and above said they also planned to keep saving.
In eight of the 21 markets, a majority of the 9,211 people surveyed were planning to save more in the coming six months.
Topping the list of savers was Vietnam, where 52 percent of respondents said they intended to save more over the next six months.
That was followed by India at 47 percent, the United Arab Emirates at 47 percent, South Africa at 47 percent and New Zealand at 46 percent.
In Taiwan, 24 percent of respondents said they would increase saving over the next six months and another 37 percent said they would maintain the same level. The remaining 39 percent — the highest percentage in the Asia-Pacific region — said they would save less, the survey said.
The main reasons respondents gave in Taiwan and other Asian markets for saving less were that their income was not high enough, inflation was too high or they wanted to spend more on enjoying life.
Some 70 percent of Taiwanese consumers said they wanted to save up in case of unforeseen emergency expenses in light of the economic uncertainty.
A total of 87 percent of respondents in the 18 to 30 age bracket were concerned about saving money, the survey showed — the highest of any age group.
Taiwanese respondents also said they were saving for retirement, investments and buying property, while 23 percent planned to save between 1 percent and 10 percent of their incomes over the next six months.
In other markets, 95 percent of Thai respondents — the biggest proportion among markets in the region — expressed concern about the economic uncertainty, compared with 48 percent in China — the smallest proportion in the region.
“Our latest survey shows that the percentage of households saving for precautionary reasons has gone up. While the increase is slight, we are still seeing an uptrend and this has implications in terms of consumption in the region,” Hedrick Wong (王月魂), economic adviser of MasterCard Worldwide in the Asia-Pacific region, said in a press statement.
As a result of the expected increase in the saving rate, MasterCard Worldwide estimated NT$1.2 trillion in domestic capital would sit idle, the statement said.
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