Global market research firm Synovate released the results of Synovate PAX - a survey tracking the media industry, the lifestyle and influence of the upscale cross section of the Asia Pacific population. The survey was spanned between the third financial quarter of 2003 and the second quarter of 2004. The results throw up the image of a continuing increase in the purchase of high-end products amongst the well-heeled Asians.
As the firm described, the survey covered the 'movers and shakers of Asia - the top 20 per cent of the society'. An official communiqué, carrying the results, quoted Steve Garton, Media Director, Synovate Asia Pacific, as saying: "As Asia's only current upscale media tracking survey, Synovate PAX is a critical information source to media organisations and planners. It is a powerful piece of marketing intelligence to know who's reading and watching what across the region. And we now take this a step further. We now also report on psychographics and lifestyle for the Asia's affluent."
Interestingly, the results show that nothing holds back the elites of Asia for long. On the face of continuous rise in income and increasing purchase power, last year's economic set back, triggered by SARS has faded into history. "The resourcefulness, flexibility and resilience of Asia's elites shows a mindset that they won't let anything stand in the way of their drive for progress. On the personal front, the results show increased confidence, indicating a buoyant year ahead for high-ticket luxury items and technology," Garton said.
As the group claimed, Synovate PAX brought together updated information on the consumption of regional media, as well as product ownership, future purchase intentions, changing attitude towards media and brands and all about the lifestyle of affluent Asians, including top management and business decision makers.
Taking a look at the media dynamics of the region, the study revealed that regional media reached Asia's most affluent consumers in a cost-efficient fashion. This would certainly help marketers choose the right vehicle to convey their message across the high-end consumer segment and optimise efforts in building successful communication.
To track the insights into the attitude towards media and brands, PAX respondents were asked about their attitude to a range of statements that were designed to reflect the mind-set and beliefs about purchasing, advertising, brands and products. A statement like "I'm often one of the first to buy new products/gadgets" from a man in Jakarta does portray that elites in Indonesia are hungry to improve their lifestyles and are clearly early-product-adopters.
As the study shows, men are more open to try a new product earlier than women. Top Management are ahead of the 10-country average by a significant margin, no doubt linked to their higher income and therefore their ability to be acquisitive.
Coming to brands, Sydney and Jakarta have registered the highest agreement levels with brands at 56 per cent. Following are Bangkok and India, at one in every two interacted preferring well-known labels. North Asian elites, however, seemed greatly influenced by advertising when it comes to choosing a brand or a product. In Seoul, 40 per cent showed this attitude, followed by Taipei with 37 per cent.
"Well known foreign brands are usually of better quality" - around one in every four respondents hold this view. Kuala Lumpur has the maximum faith in foreign brands (34 per cent) while the majority of the well-off Sydney-siders prefer to trust home grown brands.
Over half of the moneyed men interacted by the PAX research team, agreed that advertising helped them and in every country the score was 50 per cent or more. "Adverts are a good way to learn about new products" - Jakarta's elites seem to be most influenced by advertising with 68 per cent echoing the statement.
Going by the study, marketers in Taipei and Seoul should invest maximum effort in convincing the early product adopters to experiment with brands, while brand-loyalty is most volatile in Sydney.
Keeping in view the overall lifestyle impressions of the people, Garton observed, "The new psychographic results show that amongst the PAX universe, those who refer to regional media have higher scores on many attributes relating to leadership, keeping up with modern technology and a willingness to try new brands."
The survey was carried out covering 11 countries across the Asia Pacific terrain, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Australia. The PAX research team interacted with more than 2,50,000 people representing the upmarket cross section of the society across the region.