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Mastercard: Digital resilience and experience spending key trends for 2022

By Catherine Knowles, Fri 24 Dec 2021

Shifts in household savings, economic growth, leisure travel recovery and consumer spending on stuff versus experiences are in focus as businesses continue to move digital.

This is according to the Mastercard Economics Institute’s Economy 2022 report, a global outlook for the coming year.

Based on critical trends, the report reveals how five fundamental factors - savings and spending, digital acceleration, supply chains, travel and a growing list of economic risks - will continue to shape the global economy.

Savings and spending: Excess savings in the developed economies of Asia Pacific are a source of strength in consumption in 2022 and beyond.

In New Zealand, excess savings are expected to reach approximately NZ$6,312 million. A faster scenario for spending excess savings would mean a two-percentage point acceleration in consumer spending growth for several markets in 2022, including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Korea.

Globally, consumer spending of built-up savings could contribute an additional three percentage points to global GDP growth in 2022 as pandemic restrictions ease.

Digital: According to Mastercard, 20% of the digital shift in retail stays put, reshaping how and what consumers buy.

E-commerce subscriptions gained traction in 2021 as nearly 88% of countries across 32 markets saw a surge in subscription services compared to the previous year.

On average, retail subscription share of total spend increased by a factor of 1.25 from 2020 to 2021 across six Asia Pacific markets.

Notably, car companies, virtual workout partners, bike rentals and pet services are among a slew of businesses benefitting from this model.

In New Zealand, the online share of spend increased by 4.4 percentage points in the restaurants and bars sector, and 2.1 percentage points in the retail sector, from the pre-pandemic trend.

Supply chains: Household spending on services in Asia is expected to accelerate while goods demand also stays robust in 2022.

Whilst supply chain disruptions continue to linger on, prolonging high logistics costs and a surge in global commodity prices, exports remain a major positive factor for the region.

Travel: Uptick in leisure travel recovery as international travel opens up, with medium and long-haul flights to gain ground in 2022.

Travel restrictions impacted the slow rate of recovery across the region in 2021, with only a few markets in Asia Pacific witnessing a rebound in domestic travel such as Australia, who saw trips returning to nearly 69% of pre-pandemic levels.

Risks: Risks remain with the potential to disrupt the global economy, Mastercard finds. New COVID-19 variants like Omicron pose the biggest immediate risk, however there are identified additional risks that have the potential to derail recovery, including a sharp recalibration of housing prices, a surge in oil prices, and fiscal cliffs in advanced economies.

Commenting on the findings, Mastercard chief economist AP & MEA David Mann says, “Although the past year remained shrouded in uncertainty, we are optimistic about the year ahead, and expect 2022 to be the year of travel recovery for Asia.

"Whilst the recovery trend across the region may be non-linear, we anticipate pent-up demand and savings will finally be released by consumers, evidenced by the recovery of out-and-about categories such as apparel and beauty.

"The continued strength in e-commerce, and pandemic categories such as home improvements and hobbies will also be bolstered by a steady rise in the subscription economy, painting a positive picture despite the lingering threats of new variants, inflation and supply chain disruption.”

The Mastercard Economics Institute draws on aggregated and anonymised sales activity in the Mastercard network among other sources to develop a measure of the quantity and prices of goods versus services consumed for economies throughout the world.

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