ShoppingMasterCard reveals strong travel purchase among APAC consumers, but they are spending in a different way.

The battle for travel spend has just begun

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With work-from-home and work-from-anywhere trends, consumers in Asia Pacific are also doing away with structured shopping schedules and are transacting all seven days.
With work-from-home and work-from-anywhere trends, consumers in Asia Pacific are also doing away with structured shopping schedules and are transacting all seven days. Photo Credit: Adobe/whyframeshot

A new Mastercard survey has identified how significantly Asia Pacific consumers’ shopping and spending habits have been changed by the Covid pandemic.

The verdict? Plenty.

The outlook? Most consumers won’t be going back to the way they shopped pre-pandemic.

What does this mean for the travel trade? Again, plenty.

As travel demand picks up, travellers are choosing how far they are willing to go: long-haul vs. short-haul flights.

Mastercard says while there's been an impressive recovery in spend on long-haul flights, growth in short-haul flying remains 20% above the long-haul segment globally.

Flight bookings globally have remained around 16% above 2019 levels through August 2022, “signalling continued robust demand after a strong first half of the year despite rising economic challenges”, Mastercard reported.

Key findings

- Global consumer flight bookings throughout this summer stayed 15% above 2019 levels
- In Singapore, outbound international bookings are over 10% higher than pre-pandemic levels
- As remote work trends live on, consumers are shifting weekend spend to the traditional work week

With the recovery in Asia Pacific still underway and outbound tourism from China not yet unlocked, "there is reason to be optimistic about more travel recovery heading into 2023”, the card issuer said.

Mastercard suggests travellers are choosing other modes of transportation as overall interest in travel remains strong.

“Across Europe, public transportation, trains and buses recovered much quicker during the pandemic versus the rest of the world, and growth in this segment remains roughly one percentage point higher relative to the rest of the world,” the survey found.

Of special importance to the travel trade, consumers are not only choosing where to buy based on several factors, including convenience, price, availability and brand or store loyalty, they’re more inclined to shopping local.

They are also doing away with structured shopping schedules. Days designated for certain types of purchases before the pandemic - consciously or not - have blurred, with people transacting all seven days.

Work-from-home and work-from-anywhere trends impact how and where we work and live - as a result, the "weekend" is starting early, Mastercard noted.

“These spending choices clearly show that consumers have re-evaluated their wallets in the face of ongoing price pressures, economic uncertainty, persistent Covid cases and geopolitical tensions.”

The upshot? Mastercard expects to see small services companies remain competitive as consumers seek out differentiated, disruptive services

“Clearly there's no going back to pre-pandemic habits and preferences, and consumer spending choices will continue to play out as macroeconomic trends take shape,” the report concluded.

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