Dining and entertainment tops purchasing priorities

February 15, 2011 | 09:56
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Asia/Pacific may have cuisines that are as disparate as the region’s geography and culture, but consumers across the region expect dining and entertainment to be their top spending priority for the next six months.
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According to the MasterCard Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities released today, 69 per cent of consumers in Asia/Pacific said they would spend on dining and entertainment in the next six months, just a percentage point shy of the highest indicated level since the survey began, representing a growth of four points from six months ago.

In all but one of the Asia/Pacific markets included in the survey, dining and entertainment was the top spending priority. The top three markets in the region were Vietnam (89 per cent), Korea (78 per cent) and Hong Kong (75 per cent).

A similar trend appeared in Middle East, where all of the six markets surveyed featured dining and entertainment as the top spending priority. Some 98 per cent of Egyptians said they would spend on dining and entertainment over the next six months, the highest across all the markets surveyed.

The MasterCard Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities, released twice yearly, provides valuable insights into consumers’ discretionary spending priorities for the six months ahead. The latest survey was conducted from September 13 to November 11, 2010 and involved 10,502 consumers from 24 markets across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and computer aided telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary.

The percentage of consumers in Asia/Pacific going to spend on fashion and accessories has increased by 6 percentage points to 50 per cent from six months ago. The category is second only to dining and entertainment in Australia (50 per cent), New Zealand (53 per cent), Singapore (58 per cent), China (64 per cent) and Vietnam (78 per cent).

Another category that grew was consumer electronics. Some 43 per cent of consumers surveyed across Asia/Pacific plan to spend on consumer electronics in the next six months, up 6 points from the second half of 2010.

The growth trend in Asia/Pacific for spending priorities in the dining and entertainment, fashion and accessories and consumer electronics categories is supported by the fact that most consumers are planning to maintain the same level of discretionary spending for the first half of 2011 as six months ago.

Some 52 per cent of consumers in Asia/Pacific are planning to maintain the same level of discretionary spending, while 19 per cent intend to increase their spending and 29 per cent are planning to decrease their spending. Taken together, these numbers represent the most favorable sentiment in terms of discretionary spending intentions since the survey started collecting this data.

In Asia/Pacific, China (31 per cent), Hong Kong (29 per cent) and India (26 per cent) have the highest percentage of consumers planning to increase their discretionary spending in the next six months while countries with the highest percentage of consumers planning to maintain their level of discretionary spending are Vietnam (62 per cent), Australia (59 per cent) and Korea (59 per cent).

As a region, the Middle East had the highest percentage of consumers who were planning to maintain their discretionary spending (63 per cent).

Derived from data in the survey, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience measures how resilient the categories in the survey are to unexpected cutbacks in planned expenditure. A scale of 0 to 100 is used for the index, with 100 being the most resilient. The more resilient a category is, the less likely there will be a reduction in spending for that category in the event of an unexpected shock to expenditure.

According to the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience, the most resilient category for discretionary spending is private tuition and extracurricular activities for one’s children. The category was the most resilient in half of the markets surveyed, with the highest Index scores for the Asia/Pacific in India (95.7), Vietnam (92.7) and Indonesia (88.9).

Personal Air Travel is the most resilient category in Australia (72.8) and Singapore (64.4). Consumer electronics tops the index in Japan (68.5), fitness and wellness in New Zealand (76.7) while fashion and accessories is the most resilient category in Morocco (85.4).

Yunsok Chang, group executive, Global Products and Solutions, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, said “While it is no surprise that dining and entertainment is at the top of consumers priorities again, it is interesting to see continued positive movement in terms of priorities for the three top categories for the third year running – this is in line with regional economic sentiment and growth over the last six months.

Combined with the data on discretionary spending, which are at the highest levels since the survey began, the latest findings show strong consumer sentiment for private consumption over the first half of 2011.”

By Song ngoc


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