Mastercard Reports: ASEAN’s Confidence Boosted by Optimistic Youths

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 at the most recent 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 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.

Key Findings

  • According to findings from the Index, consumer confidence falls in correlation with an economy’s development. Cambodia’s consumers below 30 (95.4 points) are the most optimistic, followed by Myanmar’s below 30s population (94.0 points) and Vietnam’s (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).
  • 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.
  • 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). 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). Conversely, all age-groups are least confident about the stock market, with little disparity between sentiments (2.3 points).

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