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Auckland, New Zealand – March 14, 2017 – New Zealand consumer confidence has reached new heights with the country feeling the highest level of optimism in three years, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC)[1].

The biannual survey by Mastercard has upgraded New Zealand’s consumer confidence from neutral to optimistic with a score of 62.2. This is a 6.8 point increase since the previous survey was undertaken six months ago, the first time New Zealand has been classed optimistic since 2014.

The Index, which measures the 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 Zealanders are more confident across economic (64.3), employment (64.0), quality of life (52.4) and stock market (56.6) factors. Regular income confidence, the highest measure in the survey, dropped a small 2.1 points to 73.9.

“It’s great to see New Zealand break into the optimistic group of the survey for only the second time since 2010 – although it’s unsurprising considering New Zealand’s economy has been growing robustly in recent times,” says Peter Chisnall, Mastercard Country Manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

“We’re seeing strong tourism and migration underpin consumer spending, while the housing shortage and Canterbury rebuild have buoyed building activity. And with annual GDP growth of 3.6%, this is not only historically strong, but in the top tier of growth performance across the developed world,” says Chisnall.

More than a third of Kiwi consumers expressed confidence in their future prospects and sense of health security.

“The labour market remains strong, particularly in Auckland, and we are continuing to enjoy high levels economic and political stability. This contributes to an ongoing stable business and social environment which in turn provides Kiwis with the confidence to seek new opportunities,” adds Chisnall.

Internationally, New Zealand’s consumer confidence score is just below the average for the rest of the Asia Pacific region, which came in with a score of 68.1. Yet the country is still significantly ahead of Australia which is on 46.5.

New Zealand remains ranked 9th overall, while Australia placed 10th out of the 17 surveyed markets.

 Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence New Zealand – H2 2016

Component Current Status Change from last half
Overall MICC 62.2 Optimistic 6.8 Some Improvement
Employment 64.0 Optimistic 11.4 Significant Improvement
Economy 64.3 Optimistic 12.7 Significant Improvement
Regular income 73.9 Optimistic -2.1 Stable –
Stock market 56.6 Neutral + 1.7 Stable +
Quality of life 52.4 Neutral + 10.3 Significant Improvement


Methodology

Between November and December 2016, 8,723 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) 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 five component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.