Olivia Parker
Jan 23, 2018

APAC kids now have their own spending power

A study by TotallyAwesome shows almost all Asian children receive pocket money—and they are increasingly sure about where they want to spend it.

APAC kids now have their own spending power

Remember when the going rate for pocket money was a couple of coins on a Sunday for sweets? Times have changed. According to a new survey, children in APAC are now regular spenders, with their own strong views on brands and preferences.

Nearly all (98%) of the children surveyed in nine Asian markets (Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) receive pocket money regularly, with US$53.80 the average amount parents are willing to shell out per month. The survey reached 2,700 6-to 14-year-olds via Toluna for the digital advertising platform TotallyAwesome.

The report suggests a clear difference between Asian markets when it comes to the amount and frequency of pocket money given. Children in Singapore receive the most cash, an average of $91 per month, while kids in Indonesia and India get just over a third of that at $35. Children in more developed markets Australia and New Zealand receive an average of $68 and $49, respectively—but they are less likely to get this as a regular allowance and will instead be given it when they ask their parents, the survey finds.

Snacks and sweets are still top of most children's lists, with 59% saying this is what they buy during a normal week—a figure that rises to 73% in Thailand. KitKat ranks as the most recognisable snack brand, with 73% of children choosing it first in answer to the question ‘Which of these [brands] have you seen before?' Oreo (68%) and Milo (66%) were the next most popular.

Over a third of children (37%) now claim to spend their money on eating out, a 4% rise on the figure when the survey was last released, in June 2017. This possibly indicates that today’s APAC children are copying the habits of their millennial parents, who are known to eat out much more regularly than other generations. Eating out is in fact now a more popular way for children to spend money than buying toys (33%) or video games (15%).

KFC has a very strong recognition rate of 85% as the leading fast food brand, but it is not children's favourite place to eat in all markets: Singapore, Australia and New Zealand children prefer McDonald’s, and children in the Philippines favour homegrown Jollibee.

And while toys came in as only the fourth most popular way for children to part with cash, chosen by a third of kids, 67% of parents said that toys were the purchases their kids influenced most strongly. Lego was the highest scoring brand both in terms of spontaneous recognition and with visual prompts, followed by Barbie and Disney. Three-quarters (76%) of children said the reason they liked Lego was because ‘they let me create whatever I can imagine.’

“Kids have a very high brand awareness,” says Marcus Herrmann, COO of TotallyAwesome.
“When we question ‘why do you like this brand?’, things come up like ‘this is the best of its kind’, so its quality, and also ‘its personality suits me’. And then further down the line, in markets like Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, the peer pressure is still quite high, so they will be influenced by their friends, whereas in Australia and New Zealand it’s more actually the brand personality and the quality of the brand that's important.”


Campaign Asia

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