Survey finds that Asia takes more control of health and retirement amid Covid-19

A year on from Covid-19 first entering the public consciousness, people across Asia are taking more control of their health and retirement planning, as they look to the pandemic’s longer term impact on their personal wealth and lifestyle habits, according to new research from Manulife.

The latest version of the “Manulife Asia Care Survey” takes a deep dive look into customers’ concerns, priorities and aspirations amid the pandemic. The survey, which was conducted in November 2020, polled some 4,000 people, across eight markets in Asia, covering mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.[1]


Nearly all of the respondents (95%) across Asia who worry most about Covid-19 have taken personal actions to improve their overall health, mainly through more regular exercise and improved diet, particularly in the emerging markets.[2] Additionally, no matter their views on Covid-19, almost all respondents (92%) are tracking a series of health and fitness measures, including body weight, sleep quality, blood pressure, heartbeat and steps.

Almost three out of four respondents (73%) say retirement planning has become more important since Covid-19 started.[3] This high level of interest is aligned with concerns about personal wealth. Across all markets, 42% are worried about their personal wealth in the wake of Covid-19, with respondents in Hong Kong and Singapore the most concerned.


“Health and retirement have clearly become more important for our customers since the onset of Covid-19,” said Anil Wadhwani, CEO and President of Manulife Asia. “What this survey shows is that, amid uncertainty, people are finding ways to take more control of their health and financial planning agendas, including through the adoption of digital. In many ways, the pandemic has fast-tracked digitisation, and those digital habits are here to stay.”

[1] This version of the Manulife Asia Care Survey was conducted via online self-completed questionnaires in eight markets, namely mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. A total of 3,946 people, aged 25 years old or above, was surveyed in November 2020. They included insurance owners and those who did not own insurance but intended to buy it in the next six months.

[2] Among the respondents who are most concerned with Covid-19, Indonesia (74%), Vietnam (72%), Philippines (69%) and Malaysia (57%) say they are exercising more regularly, compared to mainland China (52%), Hong Kong (42%), Singapore (38%) and Japan (30%).

[3] The retirement planning figure is highest in emerging markets, where respondents in the Philippines (90%), Indonesia (88%), Malaysia (83%) and Vietnam (79%) all viewed retirement planning as much more important or important. Figures in the other markets: Singapore (74%), Japan (61%), Hong Kong (55%) and mainland China (53%).


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