Affluent Singaporeans define luxury as good health

SINGAPORE - High-income earners in Singapore have redefined the meaning of luxury to mean time and good health over material indulgences.

This was revealed in the Visa Affluent Study 2013. The study, conducted across Asia Pacific and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), looked at affluent consumers' spending habits, priorities in life and their perception of luxury.

It revealed that the modern affluent place more priority on having the time to keep fit and achieving greater work-life balance.

The association between spare time and luxury was high across the region, with an average of 75 per cent agreeing with the statement. This sentiment was prominent in Singapore, where 81 per cent agreed, as well as developed countries such as Australia and Japan.

This was also true for developing nations such as Indonesia and India, where 85 per cent and 77 per cent agreed with the statement respectively.

In comparison, a regional average of 53 per cent said they consider owning the best brands a luxury. In Singapore, this number was 54 per cent.

Almost all respondents 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.

Overall, the countries placed a huge priority on achieving a balanced professional and personal life, with a more than healthy average of 84 per cent. Indonesians agreed most strongly at 96 per cent, while China and India followed closely at 90 per cent and 89 per cent respectively.

Other top priorities included having more 'me time' and time for their family, as well as increasing their personal income.

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, to 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."

yamadak@sph.com.sg