Consumer confidence rises in Asia Pacific

21 May 2010

SINAPORE: Consumer confidence levels are increasing across Asia Pacific, suggesting that spending levels could experience similar growth over the next few months.

MasterCard, the financial services firm, has released its latest bi-annual assessment of popular sentiment in the region, which employs a sliding 100-point scale to measure optimism among shoppers.

It found that the average score for Asia Pacific as a whole came in at 69.1 points, which compared favourably with the total of 66.3 points recorded in the previous study six months ago.

Perceptions were brightest in Vietnam on 93.7 points, with figures also reaching 86.6 points in Singapore and 84.6 points in the Philippines.

This compared with ratings of 84.3 points in Singapore, 83 points in China, 71.7 points in Malaysia and 64.3 points in Taiwan, with each of these nations having seen an uptick in the last six months.

Overall, participants who were under 30 years of age were more upbeat than their older counterparts, on 73 points and 67.4 points respectively.

This gap peaked in New Zealand, where Mastercard's barometer stood at 77.2 points for younger contributors and 61.8 points for older demographics.

Elsewhere, this difference came in at almost ten points in Hong Kong, eight points in Singapore and around seven points in the Philippines.

In contrast, members of the panel who were over 30 years old in Korea displayed greater degrees of enthusiasm than younger respondents, at 56 points and 47.7 points in turn.

Residents of Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines were also revealed to be the most optimistic that their salaries would rise in the next six months.

"Consumers in this region were amongst the first to cut back drastically on discretionary spending 18 months ago," Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide, said.

"They now seem confident and ready to significantly increase their discretionary expenditures and reduce their precautionary savings."

Even in Japan, which has suffered particularly heavily during the financial crisis, pessimism was less pronounced than in Mastercard's previous poll.

Data sourced from Media Asia; additional content by Warc staff