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Synovate survey shows Australia’s elite are Asia Pacific’s most logged-on, intoxicating, credit-driven consumers


20 October 2006 - SYDNEY — Wealthy Australians are the most internet-savvy, alcohol-loving, cultured and credit-indebted consumers in Asia Pacific according to information released today from the 2006 Synovate PAX media survey of affluent residents in Sydney and Melbourne.

The Synovate PAX survey tracks media, prosperity and influence in eleven markets across the Asia Pacific region - Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, India, Australia and Japan.

The results for 2006 show that the average monthly household income of Sydney’s residents has remained relatively steady over the PAX year. Figures for Melbourne were also available for the first time, with average monthly household income of US$7,812, a similar result to Sydney’s US$7,850.

Across the region, only PAX respondents in Hong Kong (US$8,456) had higher average monthly household income than Australians.

Synovate Australia and New Zealand CEO, Mr Brent Stewart said that the affluent of Australia had the highest rates of monthly credit card billing, internet access, alcohol consumption and cultured leisure activities in the region.

"Australians have made their mark as the region’s highest credit card spenders, with respondents in Sydney billing an average of US$1,650 per month on their credit card and respondents in Melbourne billing an average of US$1,593 per month.

With a regional average of US$978 per month, and the next closest consumers in Seoul billing $US1,244 per month, Australians love their plastic cash and aren’t afraid to show it" he said.

With both cities having the highest rates of internet access and alcohol consumption regionally, Australia’s wealthy are clearly paying for their online savvy with their credit cards, as well as spending up big on the booze"

The Synovate PAX survey allows marketers to get a full picture of Australia’s affluent consumers – what they watch, read, buy and how they feel about advertising and branding – enabling them to more accurately target their marketing efforts.

“With some of the highest credit card ownership in the region, there is no doubt that Australia’s wealthy are conspicuous consumers, but the data also demonstrates their cultured side with more visits to the cinema, concerts, art galleries and museums in the past three months than any other country surveyed,” he said.

“As the economy continues to prosper, Australia’s affluent residents are using their credit cards to live their relaxed lifestyles in style, enjoying fine wines and imported beers while watching their plasma TVs, or visiting the theatre and cinema.”

Mr Stewart discussed some Australia-specific product and service ownership, purchase intention and lifestyle facts covering the twelve months to June 2006. These included:

Product Ownership

* More than 70% of Australia’s PAX respondents (71.5% Melbourne; 71.3% Sydney) now own a desktop computer, some of the region’s highest figures after Taipei (79.2%) and Hong Kong (78.3%). In comparison, laptop or notebook computer ownership is average at 39.8% for Sydney and 39.4% for Melbourne (regional average 35.7%).
* Ownership of mobile phones with internet access has grown substantially to 49% of Sydney PAX respondents, a 33% increase in uptake over the year, and 44.4% of Melbourne respondents.
* Australia lags behind the rest of Asia Pacific when it comes to mobile music with only 29.5% of Sydneysiders and 22.6% of Melbournites owning an MP3 player or iPod. This compares to the regional average of 38.7%, with Hong Kong (61.5% ownership) and Bangkok (49.1% ownership) the two highest markets.
* Ownership of LCD or plasma televisions in Sydney has grown a massive 65% in one year to 16.7% of Sydney PAX respondents, with 18.6% of Melbourne’s elite also owning an LCD or plasma TV. A further 21.7% of Melbourne respondents and 15.6% of Sydney respondents (a 30% increase since last year) intend to purchase an LCD or plasma TV in the next twelve months.
* Hong Kong residents may be the champions of conspicuous consumption, but Australians have the highest rate of credit card billing regionally. Sydney (average US$1,650 per month) and Melbourne (average US$1,593 per month) bill far more per month than Seoul (US$1,244) or Hong Kong (US$1,146), the region’s second and third highest spenders.
* Accordingly, credit card ownership is also high with Sydney (89%) and Melbourne (87.6%) only just behind Hong Kong (91.7%) and Seoul (89.4%) in terms of credit card ownership.
* Sydney has the region’s highest rate of internet access with 93.4% of PAX elites able to log on either at work or home. Melbourne has the region’s second highest rate at 91.9%, followed by Hong Kong (89.3%) and Seoul (89.8%).
* High petrol prices have taken their toll on Sydney’s elite with car purchase intentions for the next twelve months falling 22% in one year to 20.3%. In Melbourne, 20.7% of PAX elites intend to purchase a new car in the next twelve months.

Alcohol Consumption

* Australia maintained its position as the region’s highest drinkers by far with overall alcohol consumption remaining steady at 84.4% for Melbourne and 83.1% for Sydney (regional average 44.6%).
* However, with imported beer consumption increasing by 31% in Sydney to 34.9% (27.4% in Melbourne) and Sydney wine consumption growing 8% to 72.8% (65.7% Melbourne), it seems the choice of alcohol is becoming more upmarket.
* Australians were the largest spenders regionally when asked how much they had spent on quality wines in the past four weeks, with Melbourne (US$266) and Sydney (US$263) followed by Bangkok (US$243), Manila (US$212) and Taipei (US$195).

Leisure Activities

* World Cup fever showed clearly in the PAX results with 59.1% (the region’s highest) of Melbourne’s residents and 46.4% of Sydney’s residents (an increase of 14%) interested in watching, reading about or attending soccer games. PAX respondents in Bangkok (47.8%) and Kuala Lumpur (44.6%) also love their soccer.
* Other sports of interest to PAX elites in Australia include golf (14.3% Melbourne; 12.4% Sydney), tennis (the region’s highest with 32.2% Melbourne and 29.2% Sydney), cricket (36.2% Sydney and 35% Melbourne compared to 66.9% India), rugby (43.4% Sydney; 10.8% Melbourne) and motor sports (9.6% Melbourne; 8.9% Sydney).
* When it comes to participation in sports in the past three months, golf (9% Melbourne; 7.4% Sydney), soccer (9.6% Melbourne; 5.6% Sydney), swimming (5.5% Sydney; 3.2% Melbourne) and tennis (7.8% Melbourne; 7.7% Sydney) are all popular.
* Australians are the region’s most cultured consumers with the highest rates of visits in the past six months to live theatre (41.2% Melbourne; 39.9% Sydney), the cinema (74.9% Melbourne; 72.4% Sydney), music concerts (34.9% Sydney; 31% Melbourne) and museums or art galleries (42.2% Sydney; 41.1% Melbourne).

Synovate PAX also delves into peoples’ attitudes to brands and advertising via a series of psychographic statements. Some of the findings discussed for Sydney and Melbourne were:

* 14.7% of Melbourne elites and 12.6% of Sydney elites agreed with the statement that they are among the first to buy a new product or gadget. The regional average was 13.5%, showing that Sydney’s respondents prefer to wait and see if new products fit into their lifestyle before they purchase.
* More than 70% of wealthy residents from Melbourne (77.9%) and Sydney (72.9%) agree that paying for quality is worthwhile, with more than half preferring to buy well known brands (55.2% Melbourne; 54.7% Sydney), well over the regional average of 41.6%.
* When it comes to advertising, only Thais are more cynical than Australians in the Asia Pacific. Only 16% of PAX respondents in Sydney and 18.2% in Melbourne have great trust in products they have seen advertised, second after Bangkok at a very low 10.9%.
* Australians have much less brand loyalty than other regional consumers with 63.6% of Melbourne’s elite and 60.9% of Sydney’s elite prepared to consider buying new brands, the region’s highest and well above the average of 33.7%.

Notes to editor

1. Unless otherwise stated, the data compared is from Q2 2005 to Q2 2006.

About Synovate

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 5,500 staff in 108 cities across 50 countries.

For more information on Synovate visit


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