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Thai consumers getting more financially savvy in Covid era, study finds

Thai consumers getting more financially savvy in Covid era, study finds

THURSDAY, March 11, 2021
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More Thai consumers are focusing on their financial health during the Covid-19 pandemic compared to their Asean counterparts, the UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment study showed.

The study found that three in four Thai consumers (72 per cent) want to manage their financial health, ahead of respondents in Malaysia (70 per cent), Vietnam (69 per cent), Indonesia (60 per cent) and Singapore (46 per cent).

Sixty-four per cent of Thai respondents also said they have changed the way they manage and track their personal budgets to maintain financial discipline in the Covid-19 era.

Of the Thai consumers, millennials (66 per cent) have made the most significant shift in tightening their budgets and are keeping a closer eye on their spending. More than three in four (76 per cent) of millennials also say they are using digital platforms and tools to help them look after their finances more effectively.

This trend was most visible among users of TMRW, Asean’s first mobile-only bank powered by UOB. Last year, the number of TMRW customers who actively tapped the platform’s AI-driven Smart Insights to keep track of and to manage better their finances grew by four times. Each Smart Insight is personalised to the customer as it is based on his or her transaction data. Through TMRW, customers can set a budget for their monthly expenses and receive alerts when their spending reaches their pre-set limit.

In addition to reshaping the financial behaviour of Thai consumers, the pandemic has also influenced their financial aspirations. The study found that more than half of Thai consumers (52 per cent) re-calibrated their financial portfolio to grow their savings pot during the pandemic. Savings accounted for 40 per cent of change in holdings followed by fixed deposits (39 per cent) and insurance plans (36 per cent). A third of Thai respondents (36 per cent) also said that they had increased their investments during the pandemic.

Yuttachai Teyarachakul, managing director and country head of UOB Thailand’s personal financial services, said: “The study shows that Thai consumers are turning this crisis into an opportunity to fortify their financial health so that they can stay resilient and emerge stronger from the pandemic. At UOB Thailand, we stand ready to help our customers build and grow their wealth sustainably through our deep expertise in wealth advisory and our holistic suite of personal financial solutions.”

The UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment Study aims to understand Asean consumers better as the region undergoes a profound social and economic transformation. More than 3,500 respondents from five Asean countries participated in the study, including more than 600 Thai respondents.