Research on Purchasing Priorities reveals how countries differ in the way they tip service in bars and restaurants

Singapore, 4 April 2014 – Thai consumers have proven to be the most generous when it comes to tipping, overtaking Bangladesh and claiming the top spot, according to research conducted across 16 Asia/Pacific markets by MasterCard.

The research is based on a survey conducted between October and November 2013 with 7932 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 16 Asia/Pacific[1] countries. The survey findings are part of MasterCard’s suite of research into Consumer Purchasing Priorities in the Asia/Pacific region.

On average, across the region, 4 in 10 consumers are accustomed to leaving a tip behind after a good meal in a restaurant, while in Thailand tipping is common among 8 in 10 consumers.

A data visualization to accompany the findings can be found here.

Asia Pacific Tipping Habits Infographic 5

Note: Percentages refer to the number of respondents who said they generally leave a tip in a bar or restaurant.

Asia/Pacific’s Tippers—Main Findings

  • Thailand (84%) edged out last year’s leaders – Bangladesh – to take pride of place as the nation of top tippers.
  • People in Bangladesh appeared more frugal this year with 80% saying they generally tipped compared with a high 88% at the same time last year.
  • Tipping appeared least common in Japan where a mere 4% of respondents said they were accustomed to leaving a tip behind.
  • South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand joined Japan in propping up the table with 10% of South Koreans, and 12% of Taiwanese and New Zealanders each claiming they tip regularly.
  • Across the region, men (43%) appeared more inclined to leave behind a gratuity for service compared to women (36%).
  • Older consumers (above the age of 45) were generally quicker to reach for their wallets with 42% of people leaving tips behind. This was compared with 37% of people between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Tipping in Asia can be confusing because the region holds diverse views towards the practice. Cultural nuances can make tipping a rule of thumb in some Asian markets, while in others it can be discouraged or even considered rude.

“Of all the travel research MasterCard puts out, this survey of local residents gives us good insight into accepted practices, which helps keep tourists and foreigners in the know,” said Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard.

Most Consistent Tippers in Asia/Pacific region

Tipping habits table

Contacts: 

Georgette Tan, MasterCard, georgette_tan@mastercard.com , +65 6390 5971
Vasundhara Subrahmanian, Weber Shandwick, vsubrahmanian@webershandwick.com , +65 6825 8054


[1] Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam