SINGAPORE: Consumers in many major Asian markets intend to maintain or increase their spending during the first half of this year.

Financial services provider MasterCard surveyed thousands of adults in the region, and revealed 52% of shoppers' discretionary expenditure would remain consistent across the first half of 2011.

Another 19% expected to raise such outlay, and 29% anticipated a reduction in household expenses.

When it came to boosting purchase levels, some 31% of Chinese customers, 29% of people living in Hong Kong, and 26% of Indians should follow the same route, making up the top three on this metric.

Elsewhere, 62% of Vietnamese contributors, 59% of Australians and 59% of Koreans will leave their behaviour unchanged.

Additionally, MasterCard said 69% of those polled planned to splash out on dining and entertainment in the coming half-year.

This fell just one percentage point behind the category's highest-ever total, and constituted a jump of four points compared with the previous report, published six months ago.

Figures hit 89% among Vietnamese participants, alongside reaching 78% for their Korean counterparts, and 75% for Hong Kong.

Exactly 50% of interviewees hoped to buy goods from the apparel and accessories sector, measured against 44% in the prior research round.

Vietnam also led the way here, registering 78%, China yielded 64%, Singapore delivered 58%, New Zealand 53% and Australia 50%.

Electronics received a regional rating of 43%, improving on the 37% secured the last piece of analysis.

Using a 100-point scale, MasterCard further stated that personal air travel achieved the best index score, of 72.8 points, in Australia, and assumed a similar status in Singapore, on 64.4 points.

Electronics headed the Japanese charts with 68.5 points, while private tuition and extracurricular activities for children logged 95.7 points in India, 92.7 points in Vietnam and 88.9 points in Indonesia.

"The latest findings show strong consumer sentiment for private consumption over the first half of 2011," argued Yunsok Chang, MasterCard Worldwide's group executive, global products and solutions, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Mastercard; additional content by Warc staff