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Brief Published: 29 Aug 2013

Asian Consumer Insights

Asian family

Traditional values such as commitment to family, hard work and financial prudence are most important to Asian consumers, according to a new study released last week by the Institute of Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The study assessed the psychological make-up of almost 7,000 Asian consumers across 10 key economies in the region, and was sponsored by US drinks giant Coca-Cola, Canadian phone maker BlackBerry, India’s DBC Bank and multinational consumer goods firm Unilever.

Despite huge economic and geographic variation, Asian consumers share a strong emphasis on the importance of family and hard work, with a tendency towards saving money and planning for the future, according to the research.

The study identified four key consumer types:

  • Inner-Directed Traditionalists value tradition and religion, tend to be thrifty and are less motivated by material gain. More than half of consumers in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines fall into this category.
  • Outer-Directed Strivers tend to have lower levels of education and income but place high value on work success and material wealth. Some 59% of Indian consumers were identified as outer-directed strivers.
  • Survivor Oriented, older, less well-educated consumers from Japan and South Korea are less financially optimistic.
  • Consumers with Mainstream Asian Values account for 39% of the Asian population.

In addition, younger Asian consumers were found to value hard work, education and high savings, but viewed duty and religion as less important than their elder counterparts.

“Asia is undergoing a massive transformation,” said professor Bernd Schmitt, director of ACI. “The brands that understand, leverage and fulfil the emotional and expressive needs of the pan-Asian consumer are those that will succeed in the Asian marketplace.”

Read more about how to appeal to the new Asian consumer in Luxury in China: New Directions.