Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rich Malaysians living it up

THE rich and famous have always been under the watchful eye of the public, more so during times when others have to tighten their belts.
Well-heeled Malaysians lived just as lavishly during this recent economic downturn.

"Affluent Malaysians enjoy spending, and it seems like this is not affected by the economic condition," said Synovate Malaysia managing director Steve Murphy.

"Last year, Malaysia was the second highest market for handheld PC ownership, after Hong Kong. It was also the third highest market for mobile phone ownership at 95.6 per cent."

Synovate surveyed 1,738 "elites" -- those with a household income of over RM6,500 -- in Malaysia late last year, tracking media and digital consumption, prosperity, and influence. It also surveyed 11 other countries.

Affluent consumers in Malaysia showed the highest propensity to purchase luxury products. There is also a larger number of Malaysians owning designer accessories and footwear -- costing nothing less than RM1,700 per item -- compared with the rest of the Asia Pacific.

Also in 2009, purchases of MP4 players soared, as did ownership of digital still cameras -- 51.5 per cent of "elites" had at least one in their bag.

Malaysia was also the third top market in Asia, after Taiwan and Singapore, for credit cards. Almost half the population had a credit card.

Affluent Malaysians did not compromise on their holidays either.

"Another indication of the power of the rich is that about one third had gone on one or more leisure trips in the past 12 months, compared to 15 per cent of the general population," said Murphy.

Over 62 per cent of affluent consumers in Malaysia owned a laptop or notebook computer, which is 22 per cent more than the general population.

This was similar for digital video cameras, private cars, mobiles with Internet access and camera functions and luxury watches.

More "elites" in Malaysia also had access to the Internet and substantially increased their usage -- be it from home, work, or anywhere else.

Despite the downturn, a majority of affluent Malaysians still indicated that they were willing to pay extra for quality ---this held steady over the past year.

More were also prepared to consider buying new brands.

Half of Malaysian "elites" also said international publications and television channels were more insightful. Interest in international political issues also significantly shot up among this group.

Steve Garton, executive director of media at Synovate, said the 2009 survey results showed that this affluent group had money in hand and was willing to spend despite the economic condition.

*Taken from NST Online

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