ASEAN launches first consumer empowerment index

JAKARTA, 11 January 2021 –  The ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) launched the Report of ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index 2020 Pilot Project (ACEI 2020), as envisioned under the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection 2016-2025.

The ACEI is a composite index calculated on a country level based on questionnaire-styled surveys, in order to benchmark the national level of consumer empowerment in each ASEAN Member State (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 ten country scores, in accordance with the percentage of national sample size to total regional sample.

A total of 7,185 respondents across all Member States took part in the survey, categorized according to four criteria namely; gender, location, age and education. The study acknowledged that due to limited resources, it was not possible for the pilot project  to go for a full representative sample.

On the consumer awareness category, ASEAN consumers scored the highest on consumer rights and responsibilities. Nonetheless, 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 programmes.

Meanwhile, 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.

Lastly, on the consumer behavior category, ASEAN consumers have the highest tendency to compare products and read the terms and conditions before making a purchase.  On the other hand, they are less likely to participate in consumer groups or associations, and 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%, meaning that across the region, on an average, consumers are  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 ACEI’s methodology for future surveys.  The next ACEI is scheduled to be launched in 2024. The report can be found through this link.

For more information on consumer protection work in ASEAN, please visit www.aseanconsumer.org.

Source link