APAC’s cost-of-living crisis: How worried are consumers of inflation eroding their spending power?

Samuel TanAPAC Data Journalist / B2B Content Manager
March 19, 2024, 12:11 PM GMT+0

As consumers grapple with inflation and rising prices, governments across Asia are feeling the pressure to act. Australia is considering a cost-of-living relief package for its upcoming budget in May, while Singapore and Indonesia have already begun distributing money directly to households, while Hong Kong’s authorities have faced calls to extend consumption vouchers to its residents again this year.

But to what extent do consumers in various APAC markets feel their disposable income has shrunk over the past year due to inflation? And how worried are consumers about the inflation rate over the coming year significantly diminishing their purchasing power – leading to a cost-of-living crisis?

In the first of our two-part regional study on the cost-of-living crisis in APAC, we survey consumer sentiments on recent and near-term inflationary pressures eating into their purchasing power.

To what extent do consumers feel their disposable income has shrunk over the past 12 months?

Latest YouGov Surveys research shows that around half of consumers in Australia (55%) and Singapore (49%) report a reduction in their disposable income last year due to inflation.

Close to a third (30%) of Aussies say their disposable income has “decreased a lot”, compared to a fifth of Singaporeans (19%).

About two-fifths of consumers in Indonesia (45%) and Hong Kong (39%) also report an inflation-fuelled drop in their disposable income over the past year, while around a third of Indian consumers (34%) say the same.

Notably, most Hong Kongers who saw their disposable income shrink due to inflation, say it has only “decreased by a little” (32%).

Also significantly, India stands out with a quarter of consumers (25%) reporting an increase in their disposable income over the past year, compared to around an eighth (13-14%) among the other key APAC markets polled.

How worried are consumers about inflation reducing their purchasing power in the next 12 months?

More than half of consumers, across all APAC markets polled in this study, say they are concerned about inflation affecting near-term spending in the next 12 months.

In Singapore, almost seven in ten consumers (69%) are worried about inflation reducing their purchasing power in the coming months, ahead of three-fifths in Australia and India (63%) and slightly over half in Indonesia and Hong Kong (54%).

However, Australia has the largest proportion of consumers who are “extremely worried” about inflation eroding their future expenditure – just over a quarter (26%) – compared to more than a fifth of consumers in Singapore and India (22%), and a seventh in Indonesia (14%) and Hong Kong (13%).

On the other hand, Hong Kong has the highest percentage of consumers who are optimistic that inflation will not significantly impact their spending in the coming months (17%) – ahead of India (13%), Australia (11%), Singapore (7%) then Indonesia (5%).

How likely are consumers in different APAC markets to cut back spending on various product categories over the coming year? Contact us for a deeper dive into the study. Request Data

This article is part of our two-part study of the cost-of-living crisis in APAC. Explore the full series below:

Part 1 – How worried are consumers of inflation eroding their spending power?

Part 2 – What products are consumers most likely to cut back spending on?


Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 510 and 2,044 for each market. All surveys were conducted online during November 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Cover photo by Twenty47studio