My Executive


    Oct 23, 2013

    Guess what the rich here hanker for

    FOR high-income earners in Singapore, luxury is no longer defined by material indulgences. Rather, it is about having more time and good health - things that money cannot buy.

    This sentiment was also shared by the well-heeled in other markets in the Asia-Pacific and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the Visa Affluent Study 2013.

    The association between spare time and luxury was high across the region, with an average of 75 per cent agreeing with the statement.

    This was prominent in Singapore (81 per cent) as well as in other developed countries, such as Australia (86 per cent) and Japan (80 per cent).

    It was also true for developing nations such as Indonesia (85 per cent) and India (77 per cent).

    The study looked at affluent consumers' spending habits, priorities in life and their perception of luxury. It found that the modern affluent place more priority on having time to keep fit and achieving greater work-life balance.

    The study was conducted in countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific - including Australia, China, Hong Kong and South Korea - and the UAE.

    It surveyed 4,846 credit-card holders between the ages of 18 and 55 who are in the top 20 per cent of each market's income-distribution range.

    Almost all respondents (93 per cent) regarded staying fit and healthy as being very important in their lives. This statement came out the strongest in Indonesia, followed by Japan and China.

    Other top priorities included having more "me time" and time for their family (88 per cent) as well as increasing their personal income (84 per cent).

    As for defining luxury in terms of material possession, 54 per cent of those from Singapore who took part in the survey considered luxury as owning the best brands. The regional average was 53 per cent.

    Ms Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei, said: "One of the most interesting and surprising results from the study is the stark contrast between what most people in Singapore assume is the affluent's perception of luxury and what it actually is.

    "In our increasingly fast-paced and cosmopolitan lifestyle, the well-off in Singapore are looking beyond material luxuries and have now turned to things that money can't buy, such as more spare time and better health and fitness."

    Overall, the markets surveyed placed a huge priority on achieving a balanced professional and personal life, with a more-than- healthy average of 84 per cent.

    The study was conducted between November last year and January by TNS Singapore, on behalf of global payment-technology company Visa.