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The First ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index Launched

ASEAN , 11 January 2021

As envisioned under the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2016-2025, the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) has produced the Report of ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index 2020 Pilot Project (ACEI 2020).  

The ACEI is a composite index, calculated at country level on the basis of questionnaire-based surveys, in order to benchmark the national level of consumer empowerment in each AMS, against that of the entire region. It is based on a set of key indicators which are equally weighted and grouped into three main components: Consumer Awareness; Consumer Skills; and Consumer Behavior. The regional index is calculated as the weighted average of the 10 country scores, in accordance with the percentage of national sample size to total regional sample.

There were a total of 7,185 respondents who were surveyed across all ten AMS, that were catagorised according to four criteria namely; gender, location, age and education.  The Study acknowledges that due to limited resources, it was not possible for the pilot implementation to go for a full representative sample.

On the consumer awareness category, ASEAN consumers scored the highest with regards to consumer rights and responsibilities.  Meanwhile, there is a need to enhance the level of consumer awareness on redress mechanisms and for consumer protection authorities to enhance its public advocacy and education programs.

On the consumer skills category, ASEAN consumers scored highest on numerical and financial skills, as well as the ability to detect scams and misleading advertisements. However, consumers will need to further engage on practicing sustainable consumption.

And lastly, on the consumer behavior category, ASEAN consumers have the highest tendency to compare between products and to read the terms and conditions before making a purchase.  However, they are least likely to participate in consumer groups or associations and to contribute to policy-making or act as agent-of-change.

The survey shows that there is a positive correlation between the level of individual empowerment and the level of education.  The ACEI stands at 63.7% which means that across the region, consumers are on average moderately empowered. 

The result of this pilot project will help facilitate a better understanding on consumer empowerment in ASEAN and assist the ACCP in further refining the methodology of the ACEI for future surveys.  The next ACEI is scheduled to be launched in 2024.

The full report can be downloaded here.