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September 16, 2020

Hong Kongers More ‘Smart Consumer’ Than ‘Smart Investor’ Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

***Pandemic inspires diligent retirement planning and willingness to save, while 20% remain laid back in managing finances***

Hong Kong, September 16, 2020 – Sun Life Hong Kong Limited (“the Company” or Sun Life Hong Kong”) today announced its latest “Consumer Finance During Pandemic” survey in Hong Kong. The survey found that over 40% of Hong Kongers who regularly search for consumer discounts do so at least once per day, and 31% indicated that they are sharing offers with friends and family more frequently since the pandemic. While those who regularly search for investment and savings related information are less in comparison, 21% indicated that they are sharing such information with their close friends and relatives more frequently since the pandemic outreak.

The survey found a generally cautious attitude towards managing finances. While close to 40% of respondents anticipated around HKD10,000 to HKD30,000 in travel expenses for the year, over half said they will reallocate such expenses to reserve cash for emergency situations or to support normal daily expenditures. It also found that 63% of respondents did not “revenge spend” in the past months, of which 27% were worried about the economic and employment outlook and wanted to keep more cash on hand. 

Sun Life Hong Kong commissioned Cimigo Limited to survey 1020 Hong Kongers, aged 20 to 40, on their views and thoughts on consumption, financial wellbeing, and retirement savings. The survey was conducted via online questionnaire between August 5 and August 16, 2020. 

Haymans Fung, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer of Sun Life Hong Kong Limited, said, “At Sun Life, we believe that life is always brighter under the sun. We know that the pandemic has affected the daily lives of everyone in the city. We also understand that retirement savings, financial confidence, and consumption habits are closely related. The recent survey sheds light on the changes during these challenging times, and enables us to provide professional retirement planning advice and devise contemporary wealth management products.”

Pandemic Inspires Diligent Retirement Planning and Cost Saving

On planning for retirement, many respondents claim they are “trying hard”, rising from 37% before the pandemic to 43% after the pandemic. Those that believe they are “trying very hard” has risen from 5% before the pandemic to 11% after the pandemic. 

Half of the respondents said the pandemic has inspired them to devise retirement plans while they have the means to do so, or believe extra effort and comprehensive planning is needed to reach their original goals. Many from the Post-90s Generation, aged 20 to 29, said reduced social activity during the pandemic has given them more time to plan for their future retirement.  

During the pandemic, respondents are willing to reduce expenses on entertainment, clothing, beauty treatment, and hair cuts by an average of 35%, as well as their dating expenditures by an average of 30%. Approximately 40% of respondents said they took action to manage their finances due to a worsening economy and concerns over layoffs and paycuts. 

Pandemic Stokes Enthusiasm in Managing Finances, Though 20% of Respondents Remain “Laid Back”

According to the survey, one in four think their financial status is stable, while one in five opt to “take things as they come”. For those with a stable financial status, almost 20% claim to be “disciplined” in financial planning, while around 30% claim to be doing the bare minimum.

On different approaches to financial planning, most respondents (32%) claimed to be the “laid back” type1 before the pandemic. Following the outbreak, most respondents claim to be the “bare minimum” type, at 26%. Those who claim to be “laid back” fell from 32% to 22%, while the “ambitious” type increased from 13% to 22%. The results reveal that respondents have generally become more enthusiastic in managing finances due to the pandemic.

Retirement and Ideals Both Important for Hong Kongers, Willing to Alter Housing Plans but Lack Clear Path to Retirement

Respondents in general value a high-quality retirement life, hoping to stay healthy (91%), be financially independent (83%) and have companionship of families and friends (67%).

While self-owned property was not deemed a major benchmark of high-quality retirement life, purchasing a flat still significantly impacts retirement savings. Every fourth respondent believes in early retirement upon receiving rental income, while 16% of the respondents see mortgage payments as equivalent to saving for retirement. Nonetheless, close to 60% of respondents said they are willing to alter their home ownership plans to save money, as they feel reluctant to let home ownership negatively impact their retirement plans and other life goals.

However, Hong Kongers generally lack knowledge on saving for retirement, and lack a clear concept of how much is actually needed. Some do not even have a fixed or regular retirement savings plan, instead saving up randomly with monthly discretionary income. In addition, around 10% of respondents are unaware of when to start saving or investing for retirement.

Fung said, “From the survey, we noticed that 40% of those who proactively cut living expenses have allocated their money to savings, investments, or cash reserves to save up for a rainy day. However, many have yet to make any new investment or financial decision due to an uncertain future. Our mission is to assist our clients to have life-long financial protection and live a healthy life. We are devoted to designing and providing comprehensive and attentive wealth management solutions based on our clients’ needs with the aim to help them accumulate wealth and achieve retirement goals during these critical times.”


Photo caption: Haymans Fung, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer of Sun Life Hong Kong Limited

Note to Editors:

1.      The various approaches towards managing finances featured in the survey include: the “laid-back” type, the “bare minimum” type, the “ambitious” type, the “all-out attack” type, the “disciplined” type, and the “herd” type. 

About Sun Life

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of June 30, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of C$1,122 billion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Sun Life Financial Inc. is the holding company of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. Sun Life Hong Kong Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada.