While this week’s retail sales figures data may have subdued expectations of Singapore’s retail sector, another set of figures just out will do little to change the mood.
Spending data from MasterCard suggests the Great Singapore Sale has delivered a significant increase in retail spending by tourists, especially in the food and beverage sector.
According to MasterCard, the value of goods and services spent by tourists using its cards rose 9.9 per cent year on year, to S$350.6 million during the first month of the promotion.
The number of transactions rose 17.8 per cent to 2.01 million, compared with 1.7 million last year.
But Singaporeans failed to respond. Spending by locals fell 12.7 per cent in 5.1 million transactions, about 7.2 per cent less than last year. Spending on Singapore-issued MasterCards represented about double the amount of tourists, or $684.9 million.
By card origin, Australia was the biggest source of spending during the Great Singapore Sale period from May 29 to June 28, with $39.5 million splurged, mainly at restaurants.
Malaysians were next, spending mainly on electronics, followed by Chinese in speciality retail stores and Japanese – up from sixth in 2014 – mostly on restaurant meals.
So while local spending was disappointing the increased cashflow from offshore shows Singapore is retaining its regional appeal as a tourist destination.