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The Great Singapore Sale Still a Draw for Shoppers


Mid-Sale Data Shows MasterCard Cardholder Spend at GSS Holding Steady
Singapore.- Both local and tourist MasterCard cardholders combined, spent US$368.5million over the first month of the GSS (29 May - 27 June 2009), an increase of 1% versus the same period last year (23 May - 21 June 2008). Overall, the number of transactions rose 14% to 3,151,586 this year.

Tourist spending was up 3% compared to the same period last year, with visiting cardholders buying US$130.8 million worth of goods and services. Cardholders from the US, Australia, UK and Malaysia were the biggest spenders.

Spend by Singaporean MasterCard cardholders was almost equal to last year, down only marginally by 0.2% to US$ 237.7 million. Transactions though were up 13%, indicating that local shoppers made a larger number of small-ticket item purchases in the first month of this year’s Sale.

“True to our expectations, consumers are looking for great savings and big value in these trying economic times, and it is clear that they appreciate the effort that the retailers have put in to give them what they want in terms of discounts and promotions,” said Lau Chuen Wei, Executive Director, Singapore Retailers Association.

Noting that the STB had worked to increase awareness of the Sale with new initiatives including a ‘Tag and Win’ online contest as well as tactical activities including distributing free ice-cream and balloons during sale weekends under the ‘2009 Reasons to enjoy Singapore’ marketing campaign, Andrew Phua, Director of Tourism Shopping & Dining at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said, “The latest MasterCard GSS spend data figures are encouraging as they indicate that shoppers, both locals and tourists, are realizing savings with the many shopping deals lined up.. With a few more weeks left to the sale, we hope shoppers will take the opportunity to enjoy more savings with their GSS buys.”

“The data reinforces the GSS’s position as an important fixture on Singapore’s retail calendar, offering consumers great savings and bringing in valuable tourist dollars to the economy. Savvy shoppers count on the Sale to deliver the best discounts and so plan months ahead to make their purchases during the Sale period. That’s why despite the times, overall spend by MasterCard cardholders was up 1% during the first month of the GSS, as shoppers made value purchases and focused on getting More for Less with the privileges offered on their cards. Overall, transactions were up 14% versus last year, indicating that shoppers were buying more small-ticket items. Tourist spending also increased by 3%, supporting Singapore’s position as an attractive premier shopping and leisure destination for shopper-travellers,” said Julienne Loh, vice president and Country Manager, Singapore, MasterCard Worldwide.

Electronics items were one of the biggest draws for Singaporean cardholders. Although not among the top three spend categories, electronics ranked high in the list. Local consumers bought US$6.3 million worth of gadgets and gizmos in the first month of the Sale or 27% more than last year.

“Local cardholders have been especially receptive to the deals offered at large electronics fairs taking place during the GSS period, sending spend in the Electronics category up 27%. Singaporeans, with their love for all things tech, are using this opportunity to stock up on consumer electronic items such as laptops, software, cameras and music players,” added Loh.

Other key highlights of the first month include:

Mirroring the trend observed during the first weekend of the GSS, the top three spend categories for Singaporean cardholders over the first month of the Sale were Eating Places and Restaurants, Department Stores and Grocery Stores and Supermarkets.

Thrifty consumers continued to cut back on spending at Eating Places and Restaurants by 12%, while spending 56% more in Grocery Stores and Supermarkets.

Spend by American and Australian cardholders registered a significant increase (44% and 20% respectively) compared to the same period last year. US cardholders emerged as the top tourist shoppers during the first month of the Sale, spending US$ 21.3 million, while Australian cardholders came in a close second, spending US$ 19.5 million. Cardholders from the UK came in as the third largest group of spenders, registering a 7% increase in expenditure compared to last year.

Americans spent the most on Electronics while Australians preferred shopping at Duty Free Stores. Clocks, jewellery, watches and silverware were favourites with tourists from the UK. Cardholders from Malaysia enjoyed shopping the most at Department Stores. Japanese tourists preferred to pamper themselves at Health and Beauty Spas.

Dining continued to be a key part of the Sale experience for both local and tourist cardholders. Shoppers continued to patronize department stores, sending spend in that category up 2% to US$14.7 million.


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