Asian Millennials leading new APAC trends

Asian Millennials leading new APAC trends


by David Shui-Jezierski

As the world adapts to the rapid advancements in technology and increasing social awareness, millennials (those aged between 18 and 35) no longer share the same work culture and spending habits as the generation prior. Asia House was this morning host to a panel discussion looking at millennials in Asia, and how the next generation are looking to change the current status quo.

The size of the millennial population in Asia reached a pivotal point in 2015, according to Rocky Scopelliti, Finance Industry Executive of Telstra, by becoming the largest source for global income spending and wealth creation. Considering that 50 per cent of the population of Asia Pacific alone will fall in this age bracket by 2020, the role that they are playing in the global economy should not be underestimated.

Nicholas O’Neill, Director of Investment Grade Originations at the National Australia Bank, highlighted the importance of social responsibility in the activities and habits of millennials, stating that factors such as those affecting the environment and equality play a larger role in their decision making.

He also touched upon how debt has become an issue that is having an impact on private life and work. Unable to own homes, a large proportion no longer see themselves moving away from the homes of their parents. Millennials are also unlikely to own credit cards. In Australia this has given rise to the popularity of ‘after-pay’ where once a good or service is purchased, payments will be made in gradual intervals.

Andrew Phipps, Head of Retail Research of CBRE, narrowed the definition of millennials to those aged between 22 and 29, so as to give a more precise insight into millennial habits. He agreed that home ownership was a large issue, stating that 63 per cent of millennials live with their families, and coupled with high debt levels, the proportion of their income being saved is also high.

As a Chinese millennial, Lin Yue, Executive Director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, shared her insights into the traits of her peers. She agreed that social responsibility has indeed become more influential in their lives, though the strength of consumerism is China still fuels spending habits, referring to the common Chinese saying ‘rather frown in a BMW than smile on a bicycle.’

She went on to say that in China, the term millennial is now a synonym for those born under the now reformed one-child policy. The 36 year-old policy has resulted in a generation of ‘Little Emperors’ that hold high expectations and are pressured heavily by their parents, which has cultured an incredibly competitive environment.

Other topics discussed include the reliance on smart technology, the decrease in pursuing just one career for life, and the effects of increased automation on employment and work culture.

For links to the research discussed please see below:

Telstra – Millennials, Mobiles & Money

Goldman Sachs – Millennials: Coming of Age 

CBRE – Asia Pacific Millennials: Shaping the Future of Real Estate 

National Australia BankNew ideas for financial fitness