Affluent Asian's to form digital generation: Synovate Pax '06

MUMBAI: The Synovate Pax survey 2006 has revealed insights into media consumption, product and service ownership, purchase intention, lifestyle and attitudes of affluent Asians.

Synovate global head of media Steve Garton said that the results were especially noteworthy because they represented the tenth consecutive year of data on this group of influential consumers.

"Pax now gives us a picture of Asia's elites over the past decade. And probably the strongest trend tracked over that time is the emergence of the digital generation. The survey shows how digital has taken off - and taken a firm hold - among the affluent population. Digital communication was still in its early stages when we started Synovate Pax and yet digital technology has changed lives - over the past five years in particular," Garton said.

Top technologies

The growth of some technologies can be traced over a ten year period. Some findings include:

- Just ten years ago, a mere 11 per cent of affluent Asians owned laptops. In 2006, that figure has grown to 35.7 per cent, representing a 225 per cent increase. A further 11.3 per cent of respondents say they will purchase a laptop or notebook in the next twelve month period.

- In 1997, the first year of the Synovate Pax survey, ownership of desktop computers was 44.2 per cent. It's now 64.1 per cent, a rise of 45 per cent.

- The mobile phone has moved from 46.8 per cent to 86.3 per cent over ten years (a rise of 84 per cent), and is much higher in some of the markets surveyed. Singapore's mobile phone ownership is 95 per cent and Hong Kong, Sydney, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Taipei all have over 90 per cent ownership.

- Not surprisingly, the internet has enjoyed huge growth over the past ten years. It is now accessed by 71 per cent of Synovate Pax respondents, an increase of 132 per cent since 1997.

The rise of digital

Other technologies have become prominent only within the last five years:

- MP3 players are now owned by 38.7 per cent of affluent Asians, a growth of 116 per cent since 2001 - with a further 7.3 per cent intending to buy one in the next twelve months. On the flipside, the mini-disc player has suffered somewhat at the hands of the MP3 with ownership declining 34 per cent since 2001 - 14.6 per cent of respondents now own one.

- Ownership of digital still cameras has increased 127 per cent over the past five years, from 23.6 per cent in 2001 to 53.6 per cent, meaning more than half of all affluent Asians now have one. There is a further 6.1 per cent who expect to purchase one in the next year. If you include people with digital camera functionality on their mobile phones, a hefty 72.4 per cent of

respondents now have the ability to take digital photographs.

- Digital video cameras are also on the up and up. In 2001, 22.1 per cent owned these items, rising 98 per cent to 43.7 per cent in 2006.

- The DVD player has become an everyday consumer durable in this time frame, with 67.4 per cent ownership in 2006, up 80 per cent from 37.5 per cent in 2001.

- Another growth area in terms of digital technology is flat screen and plasma / LCD TVs. Flat screen TV ownership has increased 136 per cent in a six year period (43.2 per cent now own one) and plasma / LCD TVs are now owned by 17.6per cent of respondents - a rise of 120 per cent over five years.

Synovate Asia Pacific director of Media Research Craig Harvey said the data throws up interesting challenges for technology marketers.

"Affluent Asians now do business on the go and accept this technology as a key part of their everyday life. Many people already have the products they need, meaning marketers should be looking at ways to communicate new features and functions to these elite consumers.

"If you look at the purchase intention data, some technology product categories have dropped over time. Many of these items may be reaching the mature end of their product lifecycle among the affluents, including mobiles without internet access, desktop computers and PDAs. However, other products - like mobiles with internet access and MP3 players - are growing.

"Laptops have maintained steady growth the entire time, probably because they are an essential business tool and need to be kept up-to-date," he stated.

Garton added that Synovate Pax continually updates its information so that marketers can stay on top of trends. "The trends we've discussed here are largely retrospective. But of course trends are all the more powerful when you can see them as they happen. The beauty of Synovate Pax is that media owners, planners and marketers are always across what's happening in the world of affluent Asians right now," he said.

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