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11.2% rise in MasterCard spending during Great Singapore Sale

China overtook Japan and Indonesia to become the third highest spender for visitors this Great Singapore Sale.

SINGAPORE: Despite reports that the recent Great Singapore Sale (GSS) was not that great for retailers, MasterCard says there was double-digit growth in GSS spending by its credit card holders this year. In a news release on Tuesday (Aug 19), it announced that MasterCard users spent US$1.659 billion (S$2.06 billion) this GSS, up 11.2 per cent from last year.

A third of the total spend came from tourists. Notably, China overtook Japan and Indonesia and third highest spender for visitors at the GSS, even though tourist arrivals from China have been dropping. MasterCard said Chinese visitors spent US$40.8 million (S$50.78 million) on their credit cards, up nearly 30 per cent from 2013. Australian and Malaysian tourists remained the top two spenders at the GSS respectively.

Top 5 markets ranked in terms of tourist spending amounts

Total overall visitor spend by MasterCard holders grew 7.6 per cent to US$491 million (S$611.15 million) this year.

Online spending on MasterCard cards at local e-commerce websites went up 25.4 per cent from a year ago to US$473.8 million (S$589.74 million). And the number of MasterCard transactions reached 13.5 million this year, a 12.5 per cent rise from last year. MasterCard says the number of transactions has been growing steadily by an average of 1.5 million each year since 2010, and this is an indication that electronic payments are displacing cash even for small-ticket items.

"After a relatively muted first few months of the year due to challenging retail conditions, the pick-up in spending by Singapore and visiting MasterCard cardholders during the Great Singapore Sale is certainly encouraging for our industry," said Singapore Retailers Association President Jannie Chan. "Moving forward, we will continue to encourage our retailers to improve their product and service offerings for to make it more exciting for consumers," she said.

"The continued growth in spend during the GSS shows that Singapore as a shopping destination for visitors and locals alike remains attractive, despite global competition," added Ms Julienne Loh, general manager of MasterCard Singapore.

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