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 January 15, 2009
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Resilience - Asia/Pacific

 While Asia/Pacific consumers are tightening their belts in 2009 and cutting back on spend, consumer spending on Fitness and Wellness is set to hold up even in these uncertain economic times, according to the latest Index from MasterCard Worldwide. The results of the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience show that Fitness and Wellness, with a Resilience Index score of 78, is the category that is most resilient to spending cutbacks among those who said they would purchase from the category in the next six months.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience measures the resilience of the top planned expenditure categories of Asia/Pacific consumers to spending cutbacks. The Index is derived from the following data - the categories of goods and services that consumers would spend on in the coming six months, how important each of these categories is to consumers and if they would cut back on their discretionary spending over the next six months.

The minimum index score of zero indicates that consumers who plan to purchase from this category do not deem the category as important, making the category extremely vulnerable to any spending cutbacks over the next six months. A maximum score of 100 indicates that consumers who plan to purchase from this category rate the category as very important, making the category extremely resilient to any spending cutbacks over the next six months. The survey covers 6,019 consumers across 14 markets, and was conducted between 1 and 29 September 2008. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

The Property and Renovations segment is also holding up well, with the second highest Resilience Index score (75) among consumers who plan to make purchases in the next six months. Dining and Entertainment (Resilience Index score: 63), Personal Travel (63) and Fashion and Accessories (59), which ranked among the top planned expenditure items of Asia/Pacific consumers, are the other categories which showed resilience.

In terms of general purchasing resilience, the Resilience Index score for consumers across Asia/Pacific is 67, with consumption priorities in China (Resilience Index score: 81) being the most resilient in Asia/Pacific, followed by those in Japan (76), Indonesia and India (74 each).

"In such times, many companies are keen to ascertain the spending patterns of consumers and the Resilience Index has been developed to provide valuable insights on consumers' purchasing resilience in key discretionary categories. Dining and entertaining, which are integral to the urban middle class lifestyles, are among the most robust spending priorities in Asia/Pacific. Spending on fitness and wellness has become increasingly important, especially for the younger and better educated consumers, and therefore it is not surprising that this category has emerged with the highest Resilience score," said Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide.

"In general, the spending priorities of the Chinese and Indian middle class consumers are relatively resilient; reflecting that their disposable income has so far remained healthy," he added.

While Chinese consumers are most resilient in the areas of Fitness and Wellness (Resilience Index score: 88), Japanese consumption priorities are most resilient in Dining and Entertainment (81). Indonesian consumption priorities are most resilient in terms of Property and Renovations (80), while Indian consumption priorities demonstrate the most resilience in their spending on Fitness and Wellness (90).

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Resilience is the latest addition to the MasterCard Worldwide Index suite of research products in Asia/Pacific. The other key MasterCard Worldwide Index research products include the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Priorities, 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 Indexes 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.

The suite of Indexes and reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

Indian consumers demonstrated the most resilience in spending on Fitness and Wellness (Resilience Index score: 90), followed by Chinese consumers (88) and consumers in New Zealand (79).

Chinese consumption priorities in Property and Renovations (Resilience Index score: 85) are most resilient, followed by Indian consumers (83) and Indonesian consumers (80).

Indonesian consumers demonstrate the most resilience in spending on Fashion and Accessories (Resilience Index score: 76), followed by consumers in China (75) and India (66).

Japanese consumption priorities in Dining and Entertainment are most resilient (Resilience Index score: 81), followed by Chinese and Indonesian (79 each) consumers.

Chinese consumers demonstrate the most resilience in spending on Personal Travel in Asia/Pacific (Resilience Index score: 75), followed by consumers in New Zealand (74) and Japanese consumers (71).

Only two markets across Asia/Pacific demonstrated resilience in spending on Consumer Electronics: Indonesia (Resilience Index score: 60) and Vietnam (58).

www.mastercard.com