Singaporeans are digging deeper into their pockets this Chinese New Year, with the average budget for hongbaos, or red packets, rising by nearly S$100, according to survey findings released by UOB on Friday (Feb 6).
The average budget for red packets for the Year of the Goat is S$817, an increase of 13 per cent from 2014's average of S$722, UOB said.
The bulk of the hongbao budget will be going to parents and parents-in-law, with each expected to receive S$209 and S$174 per person, respectively. Other top recipients include grandparents (S$106), spouses (S$191), siblings (S$98) and children, nephews and nieces (S$97).
Those on the receiving end said they plan to be more prudent with their takings. A total of 67 per cent of respondents said they would save the money, 9 per cent would use it to pay off debts and another 9 per cent would invest it. Less than half – 39 per cent – said they would spend it, while only 2 per cent said they would donate it to charity.
OVERALL BUDGET DOWN
Overall, Singaporeans plan to spend less this Chinese New Year, setting aside an average of S$2,345 – down 8 per cent from last year's S$2,551 budget. Aside from the S$817 for red packets, an average of S$429 will be spent on travel, S$282 on reunion dinners and S$255 on new clothes.
The lower overall budget may be a reflection of consumer sentiment, said UOB. Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they expected the economic situation to stay the same, and 27 per cent expected the situation to decline.
Mr Francis Tan, an economist with UOB, said: “Singaporeans are generally spending less on non-essential items such as travel and shopping over this period. They appear to be more cautious about what the year will hold, partly due to a slower rate of income growth and the general weakness of the Singapore dollar as compared with last year.”