What Worries Asia - Update Sept 23

Understanding the most pressing concerns affecting consumers across the region

Despite the world recording its hottest recorded day on July 6th climate change ranks as only the sixth biggest concern in Asia. Why? Because our day-to-day issues concern us more as they impact our lifestyle daily and now.

Market and demographic dynamics play a role in what worries a person. There are pronounced differences across what worries the Asia Pacific markets and importantly how these groups will be impacted now and in the future.

Every month we ask people in eight countries across Asia what are the most pressing issues for them in their country as part of our What Worries the World survey. The survey which has over ten years of data offers the potential to place the latest scores in context.

Key stats:

  • Fifty-eight per cent in Asia Pacific say their country is headed in the right direction, higher than the global average of 38%.
  • Inflation is highest concern in the region with 41% choosing it as an issue in their country.
  • Fifty-nine per cent in Singapore choose inflation as a worry, the highest in Asia.
  • Japan is the most concerned country about climate change globally, with 32% picking it as an issue.

The grey rhino is coming into view

In September 2023, Japan is the most concerned country globally in our What Worries the World survey after it has faced record-breaking temperatures this summer. Thirty-two per cent say it is an issue in the country, steadily rising from 15% in March. Japan has only recorded one score higher than September 2023, when back in the same month in 2018 34% saw as one of the biggest issues affecting the country.

Concern is higher among women with 48% choosing it as a worry and, despite the stereotype of environmental issues being a bigger priority for young people, it is the older generations who worry more. In Japan, 49% of Baby Boomers think it is an issue, while only 16% of Gen Z do.

Looking across Asia, Singapore is the third most concerned country with 31% saying it’s worry, while Australia is fourth (29%). Other countries with a level of worry above the global average include Indonesia (27%) and South Korea (20%).


The top concerns in Asia

Looking at what people in Asia think are the biggest issues in their country, economic worries are top of mind. Concerns for Inflation (41%) and unemployment (31%) are above other issues like poverty & inequality (30%), corruption (28%), and crime & violence (24%).

In September 2023, Singapore ranks second out of 29 countries globally for worry about rising prices with 59% choosing it as an issue in the city state. Since Singapore was added to What Worries the World in February 2023, it has remained one of the most concerned countries about inflation. Australia ranks fifth globally for concern about inflation with 53% saying it is an issue. Worry about the cost of living has been stubbornly high in the country over the last year and has been Australians’ number one concern since May 2022.

The biggest issues in Asia Pacific


While economic concerns dominate across the region, in September 2023 some other worries have bubbled to the surface. After a series of violent attacks in South Korea during the summer, concern for crime & violence is on the rise in the country. Forty-two per cent say it is one of the top issues in September 2023, which this rises to 48% for women. Back in February 2023 only 7% of South Koreans saw crime as an issue, but this has been rising since then and is up 18 percentage points between August and September this year. It is the country’s top concern in September 2023 above other issues like inflation and unemployment, the first time this has happened over the last eight years.