ASEAN’s Confidence Boosted by Optimistic Youths

Mastercard reported that ASEAN youths are more confident about tomorrow than older generations. While youthful optimism in the ASEAN region is buoying consumer confidence, sentiment amongst older consumers is significantly more reserved, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence. Revealed today ahead of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, the Index shows that 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 region’s overall confidence masks deeper discrepancies between the various markets. In WEF ASEAN’s host country, Cambodia, consumers aged below 30 (95.4 points) are the most optimistic overall, while Malaysia’s below 30s demographic (42.6 points) are the most pessimistic. Additionally, Cambodia’s above 30s group ties with Myanmar’s (92.0 points) for most optimistic, while people above 30 in Singapore show the least amount of confidence (22.7 points).

Nevertheless, 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[i] 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 neutral territory into optimistic territory, while Thai consumers below 30 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.

Furthermore, 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.

The Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence and its accompanying reports should not be interpreted as indicators of Mastercard’s financial performance.
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). Conversely, all age-groups are least confident about the stock market, with little disparity between sentiments (2.3 points).

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