Greater spending by UnionPay cardholders during the Great Singapore Sale

SINGAPORE - Despite weaker consumer confidence, spending by UnionPay cardholders during the recent Great Singapore Sale rose 15 per cent compared with the same period in 2015.

The Chinese payment firm attributed this to more cardholders and merchants here accepting UnionPay cards - the official card of the annual GSS this year for the first time.

Held from June 3 to Aug 14, the 10-week-long event was extended by two weeks this year to cater to tourists from Asia-Pacific countries, including China, whose summer holidays fall in the June to August period.

The UnionPay data, however, does not include spending by shoppers who use other credit cards or modes of payment, such as cash.

UnionPay said the increase in spending this year was boosted by increased card usage by both locals and tourists.

Local cardholders used their cards and spent twice as much compared with the same period in 2015. A reason for this could be that over 80 per cent of merchants here now accept UnionPay cards, up from over 70 per cent in 2015.

Tourists from China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Indonesia contributed to the bulk of the growth.

Supermarkets and food and beverage businesses saw the greatest boost compared to other retail categories.

The growth in spending "marks the continued appeal of Singapore as a choice shopping destination for locals and visitors", said UnionPay International South-east Asia's general manager, Mr Yang Wenhui.

The Singapore Retailers Association, which organised the GSS, said the increased spending is "encouraging", and that it will continue to work with UnionPay and the industry to increase the event's appeal among tourists and locals.