Affluence can be in the eye of the beholder. But how individuals that are affluent deem themselves can vary greatly, depending on where they live, suggests new MasterCard research examining views from individuals living in the Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa (APMEA) region.
For its research, MasterCard says it surveyed 1,000 affluent individuals in selected key APMEA markets where by 2017, 70% of the world’s affluent will live. On average, respondents were 37 years old, likely to be married with one child (aged 4), and have investible assets of at least US$200,000.
Such sizable incomes is one of the reasons many card issuers increasingly are attracted to affluent consumers.
Notions of success and achievement vary by region, the survey found. The affluent there are increasingly seeking out rich experiences over ownership of extravagant material possessions. However, there are subtle nuances. While respondents in Hong Kong generally viewed success as “living richly. being receptive to new experiences,” those in Singapore viewed it as “living life the way you want it; not as hungry for success as stereotyped."
The shift in attitude toward experiential needs in the region is transforming the consumption patterns of the affluent, the survey found. More than ever, the affluent are seeking to master a new skill or take a unique journey, instead of owning opulent material possessions, status symbols, or visiting a destination.
For affluent global citizens, products that cater to their aspirations of a deep and fulfilling life are essential. International travel (30%), which allows them to gain unique experiences, reconnect with family through shared leisure activities, and unwind while creating unforgettable memories, is rated as their most desired experience. This is followed by culinary experiences (23%), which involve the exploration and discovery of different palates and flavors from around the world, and golfing, which allows the otherwise busy individuals to recharge and to connect with others (12%).
"The affluent in APMEA are increasingly looking for things that drive personal growth and happiness, as opposed to the ownership of material possessions,” Porush Singh, MasterCard APMEA senior vice president for core products, global products & solutions, said in a statement. “This report helps us understand the mindset of affluent consumers so that we can continually develop the most relevant and innovative payment solutions as well as curate meaningful and unique experiences for them."
Golfing is one of the most popular categories that APMEA’s affluent are interested in, as 40 percent of respondents across he region had played a round of golf in the previous 12 months. As such, the increased interest in the sport has led to a strong golf-tourism industry, according to MasterCard.
"Our research has shown that affluent golfers from APMEA desire not just better quality brands, but also once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as training sessions with golfing legends and access to exclusive world-renowned courses that they view as a reward for their hard work,” Singh said.
According to MasterCard, some 40 million golfers in live China alone – nearly twice as many engaged in the sport than in US. Moreover, the golf tourism industry in Thailand is expected to grow 15% to USD$4 billion by 2015. And the daily spend of a golf traveler is double that of the average leisure tourist.