Consumers saving up to buy property, says MasterCard

KUALA LUMPUR: Consumers in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region stated one of the main reasons for saving is for property acquisition, according to the latest survey by MasterCard.

Apart from having an emergency stash, the other main reasons for putting money aside are for investing (46%), retirement (45%), and buying property (40%). 

“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,” said Dr Yuwa Hedrick Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide in a statement on Oct 22.

Among the markets surveyed, Saudi Arabia (64%) recorded the highest savings for property purchase followed by Qatar (55%), South Africa (55%), China (49%), India (47%), Australia (44%), Egypt (44%), Taiwan (39%), Lebanon (37%), Malaysia (28%) and South Korea (28%).

In eight of the 21 markets across the region, a majority of consumers are looking to save more in the coming six months.

Topping the list of savers is Vietnam, with 52% of consumers intending to save more over the next six months.

This is followed by India (47%), the United Arab Emirates (47%), South Africa (47%), New Zealand (46%), the Philippines (45%), Qatar (44%) and Australia (43%).

At the other end of the spectrum, Egypt has the highest percentage of consumers planning to save less at 63%, while Taiwan has 39% of consumers planning to do the same.

The majority of consumers in the rest of the markets, however, intend to maintain their level of savings.

Egyptian consumers feel the strongest about not earning enough to save (82%), followed by Thai consumers (81%) and South African consumers (81%).

The majority of the region’s consumers save between 1% and 10% of their income (27%), followed by 11% to 20% of their income (22%). Nine percent of the region’s consumers do not intend to save any of their income.

The MasterCard survey provides valuable insights into consumers’ savings behaviour for the next six months. The survey is based on a study of 9,211 consumers in 21 markets, conducted between March 23 and April 18, 2009.
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