Inaugural MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities
Reveals Key Areas of Discretionary Spend in 2009
New Zealand, 13 November 2008 – Consumers are looking to tighten their belts with 44 per cent of New Zealanders planning to cut back on discretionary spend for the next 12 months, according to the inaugural MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities. However the index reveals that dining and entertainment top the list as the category Kiwis will spend their spare dollars on.
“It’s interesting that Kiwis are choosing to prioritise their non-essential purchasing activities. This might reflect that people are continuing some activities as a treat or as a way to unwind in uncertain economic times,” said Stuart McKinlay, country manager New Zealand, MasterCard Worldwide.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities shows the top three areas of discretionary spend for New Zealanders for the next 12 months will be dining and entertainment (74 per cent), followed by personal travel (63 per cent) and fitness and wellness (62 per cent).
“While 44 per cent of New Zealanders are cutting back on discretionary spend, this figure is actually among the lowest in Asia Pacific, where we see 77 per cent of the region’s consumers indicating a cut back,” said Mr. McKinlay.
Taiwan (90.8 per cent), the Philippines (90.5 per cent) and Korea (85.5 per cent) reflected the greatest number of consumers looking to cut back, with consumers in China (60.1 per cent) and Australia (46.5 per cent) showing slightly more resilience along with New Zealand.
The survey also highlighted that 42 per cent of New Zealand consumers spend more than 10 per cent of their personal annual income on discretionary items. Only one percent of consumers indicated that they spend above 40 per cent of their personal annual income on discretionary items.
“While the findings show discretionary spend has dropped, a reasonable portion of people’s income is still making its way into the economy,” added Mr. McKinlay.
Looking ahead at the next 12 months regionally, male consumers (69 per cent) are slightly less likely to cut back on their discretionary spending than their female counterparts (71 per cent). Younger consumers are also less likely to cut back on spend as compared to older consumers. Over 68 per cent of consumers aged 30 years and below would cut back on spend, compared to close to 72 per cent of consumers aged 56 years and above.
One in three consumers is looking to save more than 20 per cent of their income over the next 12 months. Saving is important to consumers in all markets, especially to the Filipinos (97 per cent), Indonesians (96 per cent), Malaysians (93 per cent), Indians (92 per cent) and Thais (90 per cent). Even China, which was at the lowest end of the list, had 78 per cent of respondents stating that saving was important.
Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide said, “Consumers across the region are bracing themselves for tougher times ahead in 2009. In most markets across Asia, more than half of the respondents surveyed are looking at cutting back on discretionary spend. Even in China, where consumer confidence is still optimistic, 60 per cent of Chinese consumers have indicated a reduction in their spending in the coming 12 months”.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities was undertaken to gain insights into consumers’ savings behaviour and their discretionary spending priorities for the 12 months ahead. A total of 6,019 consumers across 14 markets1 were surveyed.
MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities comprises part of the MasterCard Worldwide Index suite of research products in Asia/Pacific. The other key MasterCard Worldwide Index research products include the long-standing MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce and the MasterCard Worldwide Emerging Markets Index.
Besides the suite of Indices put forth by MasterCard, MasterCard also develops Insights Reports as part of its series of ongoing research and analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific region. Sixty-three reports have been produced since 2004.
More information on the Index can be found at the website
About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 18 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to http://www.mastercard.com.
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