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New Zealand – August 31, 2016 The gender divide between men and women is widening when it comes to consumer confidence, with New Zealand men significantly more positive about employment, economy and quality of life than women, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC)[1].

Mastercard’s biannual survey found that consumer confidence amongst Kiwi men was significantly higher overall at 66.4, compared to a 43.5 rating for women. This 22.9 point gap has widened by 10 since the previous survey was undertaken 6-months ago.

The MICC, which measures a six-month outlook on five economic factors including the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, stock market and quality of life, is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 most optimistic, and 50 as neutral.

The latest survey highlighted that New Zealand men are more confident across all factors including the economy (66.3 vs 34.1), employment (66.3 vs 38.2), quality of life (50.6 vs 33.7) and the stock market (70.5 vs 38.2). The highest levels of confidence, and with the smallest differential, related to confidence around regular income at 78.5 for men and 73.2 for women.

“Our latest research indicates that Kiwi women have a much more cautious outlook on the next six months than their male counterparts. Men are being much more bullish in their outlook across all factors, however it is positive that all New Zealanders are feeling positive about their regular income opportunities over the next six months.  This may be a reflection of an improving labour market and an indication that Kiwis are feeling that they have a good level of job security for the remainder of this year,” says Peter Chisnall, MasterCard Country Manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

Overall, New Zealand’s overall score in the biannual survey was a stable 55.5, with attitudes to employment bouncing back by 10.7 points, following a 17.5 point drop in the last survey.

“Compared to international trends, New Zealanders are seeing our economic environment as comparatively safe and secure. We are fortunate that we have seen very little unrest locally in recent years from an economic or political perspective, which provides a relatively stable business and social setting. These economic conditions are giving people the confidence to seek new opportunities with New Zealanders feeling labour market prospects and opportunities are good,” says Chisnall.

Overall, regular income remains stable and very optimistic at 76.0, with confidence in regular income especially buoyant in Auckland at 80.4, compared to 75.3 overall.

“The labour market in Auckland is currently strong.  With low interest rates available for lending and the city experiencing a housing boom, these factors are likely to be contributing to many people feeling more wealthy from an asset perspective and therefore more confident about their regular income opportunities,” adds Chisnall.

Compared to Australia, New Zealand is 13.3 points ahead of Australia’s score of 42.2, while in Asia Pacific, most markets remain optimistic with levels of optimism remaining stable at 59.7 Index points compared to 59.7 for the six-month period prior.

New Zealand remains below the Asia-Pacific average, ranked 9th overall, while Australia placed 11th out of the 17 surveyed markets.

MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence New Zealand – H1 2016

Component Current Status Change from last half
Overall MICC 55.4 Neutral + 3.4 Stable+
Employment 52.6 Neutral + 10.7 Significant improvement
Economy 51.7 Neutral + 3.6 Stable +
Regular income 76.0 Very Optimistic 0.7 Stable +
Stock market 54.9 Neutral + 6.3 Some improvement
Quality of life 42.0 Neutral – -4.1 Stable –

Methodology

Between June and July 2016, 8,746 respondents, aged between 18 to 64 in 17 Asia Pacific markets, were asked to give a six-month outlook on five economic factors.

Respondents were asked five questions pertaining to their six-month outlook on the economy, their employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects, and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in five component indexes which were subsequently averaged to form the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC) score. The MICC Index score and the 5 component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.

About the MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence
The MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 20-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia Pacific.

It is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region.  In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low score of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.

The survey began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Seventeen Asia Pacific markets now participate in the survey: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNZ, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard Media Contact
Emma Ward
Acumen Republic for Mastercard
+64 4 494 5121
+64 21 151 6594
eward@acumenrepublic.com

[1] The MICC Index score and the 5 component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.