The youth in ASEAN are leading consumer confidence, while the sentiment amongst older consumers is significantly more reserved, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence. The region’s millennials (aged 18 to 29 years) are very optimistic about the next six months (75.0 points), while members of Generation X, aged 30 and above, track a lower score (69.5 points).
However, the level of overall confidence varies across the different countries even in the same age group. Cambodian millennials (95.4 points) are the most optimistic overall, while Malaysia’s millennials (42.6 points) are the most pessimistic. For Gen X members, Cambodia ties with Myanmar (92.0 points) for most optimistic, while people above 30 in Singapore show the least amount of confidence (22.7 points).
According to findings from the Index, consumer confidence falls in correlation with an economy’s development. Cambodia’s millennial consumers (95.4 points) are the most optimistic, followed by Myanmar (94.0 points) and Vietnam (93.2 points). Conversely, consumers above 30 in Singapore (22.7 points) are the most pessimistic, along with Malaysia’s above-30s demographic (26.2 points) and under-30s group (42.6 points).
Age-related sentiment towards the future varies most strongly across ASEAN’s more developed markets. The greatest disparities in optimism between people aged below 30 and above 30 are felt most keenly across Indonesia (73.3 points vs. 69.4 points), Singapore (47.3 points vs. 22.7 points) and Malaysia (42.6 points vs. 26.2 points).
The study highlighted that optimism over the next six months indicates stable growth across all markets. Consumer confidence amongst people aged below 30 has grown by 1.5 points, while people above 30 have tracked a 2.2 point increase when compared to the first half of 2016.
These uplifts are largely concentrated amongst the older demographic in ASEAN’s emerging economies. Thailand’s above 30s population tracks the largest leap of 10.7 points to 70.1 points, moving from the neutral territory into optimistic territory, while Thai millennials see a slightly more tempered step up 8.6 points to 63.2 points. The only other market to track sentiment uplifts across both demographics is Indonesia – below 30s track a 7.1 point jump in optimism, while the older generation track a 9.9 point jump.
The Index shows that ASEAN consumers across all age groups are most optimistic when it comes to regular income (87.7 points, 77.5 points), employment (74.7 points, 70.5 points) and quality of life (62.3 points, 60.0 points). Both age groups also veer towards a neutral outlook when asked about the economy and stock market.
Although Philippines (91.2 points vs. 91.7 points) and Thailand (70.1 points vs. 63.2 points) are the only markets where confidence amongst the above-30s demographic exceed that of the below-30s’, Thailand is the only market to shift from a neutral outlook into a positive one, the Index highlighted.
Declines are recorded in the below 30s demographic across five out of eight ASEAN markets, with stable movements across Philippines (-3.7 points), Singapore (-1.2 points) and Vietnam (-3.4 points). According to the Index, some deterioration is seen in Myanmar (-5.5 points), while significant deterioration is tracked in Malaysia (-10.3).
While all ASEAN markets are most optimistic about regular income (87.7 points vs. 77.5 points), the Index also tracks the greatest disparity in sentiment amongst the age groups (10 points).