Asians worry about money, but still indulge: poll

Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:12pm EDT
 
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Times are tough these days and money is a worry, but many Asians believe the best way to weather the global economic crisis is to indulge in little luxuries, according to a new regional survey.

The economic downturn started a long way away from Asia, but it has caused 86 percent of people in the world's most populous region to worry about their finances, and spurred 80 percent to save for the future, according to the annual "Eye on Asia" survey, by global marketing communications firm Grey Group.

But 82 percent of respondents also believe that indulgence was the best way to beat the stress of modern life, and that spending time with family, short holidays, spa sessions and small luxury items were among their favorite ways to relax.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents said life should contain as many luxuries as possible.

"There's no more taking a month off and spending it at a luxury resort," Charu Harish, regional communications planning director for Grey Group Asia Pacific, told Reuters.

"People are looking for as many little luxuries as possible to beat the stress, and that involves more short breaks, most likely with the family, and a bigger focus on luxury."

The survey is one of the largest snapshots of opinions and trends in Asia, polling more than 33,000 people from 16 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

While the poll found that an overall 76 percent of Asians were optimistic about the future and some 40 percent believe their household finances will improve in the next year, the regional averages did not reflect discrepancies between developed and developing countries -- or nations that have been hit badly, and not so badly, by the credit crisis.   Continued...