The ‘Flex’ consumption trend: spend and boast

One in two South Koreans in their 20s and 30s positively perceice the “flex” consumption trend, in which people boast while splurging on expensive products.

According to a survey of 3064 people in their 20s and 30s conducted by online job portal Saramin, 52.1 per cent said they think flex consumption is positive.

As for why they like flex consumption, 52.6 per cent of respondents said “because of the importance of self-satisfaction.”

Other important reasons included 43.2 per cent citing “because time to enjoy expensive luxury is limited,” 34.8 per cent choosing “because flex is good for relieving stress,” and 32.2 per cent citing “because flex is about enjoying life.”

More than half of the respondents, 54.5 per cent, said they would like to spend more on flex consumption in the future, and they picked “high-priced luxury,” accounting for 40.8 per cent, as their top spending priority.

Following on the wish list was 36.7 per cent hoping to “travel the world”, 27 per cent wanting to “eat good food,” 24.6 per cent hoping to “buy an automobile,” 23.2 per cent wishing for “real estate such as houses and land” and 21.6 per cent hoping for “electronic appliances.”

Meanwhile, 26.7 per cent of the respondents said they had experienced flex consumption.

There was little difference in the items purchased compared to their wish list. High-priced luxury goods topped the table, accounting for 53.1 per cent, followed by world travel at 28.6 per cent, food at 26.1 per cent, electric appliances at 26.1 per cent, and automobiles at 21.6 per cent.

Respondents spent an average of 8.4 million won (US$7100) to ‘flex’ throughout the year.

As for how often people flexed, 25.6 per cent said once a year. Flex consumption was mainly paid using monthly salary, which accounted for 70 per cent.

In addition, savings accounted for 30.8 per cent, and credit card installment accounted for 13.4 per cent.

On the other hand, 1467 respondents had a negative opinion about flex consumption.

More than two thirds said they thought the trend “promotes excessive consumption”. Some 36 per cent described flex as like “having a false dream”, 26.7 per cent said “flex makes me feel a sense of relative deprivation”, and 10.6 per cent said “flex does not allow one to pursue economies of scale.”

  • This article originally appeared in Korea Bizwire.

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