Consumers in Qatar spend average of US$211/month on eating out, survey says; those over age 55 spend highest monthly amount on eating out at US$365

DOHA, Qatar , December 7, 2011 (press release) – Dining and entertainment continue to be important priorities for consumers in Qatar, according to findings of the latest MasterCard survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities - Dining and Entertainment.

Consumers surveyed in Qatar spend an average of QAR 767 (USD 211)[1] per month on eating out with 25% of consumers spending between QAR 367 - 727 (USD 101-200). Those above the age of 55 years tend to be the highest spenders, disbursing an average of QAR 1,328 (USD 365) per month on eating out, while those with an annual household income of QAR 36,397 (USD 10,000) and below, spend close to QAR 986 (USD 271) per month.

In addition, 41% of consumers in Qatar said they were likely to eat out more in the latter half of 2011, compared with previous months.

Quick serve/fast food restaurants ranked as the most preferred dining outlets, with 88% of the respondents visiting them in past months. The other popular choices for consumers in Qatar were food courts (77%), fine dining (57%) and mid-range family restaurants/ cafes (53%).

Cash emerged as the most preferred method of payment for consumers in Qatar across all dining outlets. However, credit cards were also popular in some cases. Of those who visited hotels for fine dining, 32% used credit cards compared to 46% who used cash.

Among those who visited food courts, 25% used credit cards compared to 70% who used cash. Among those who visited fine dining at standalone restaurants, 21% used credit cards compared to 66% who used cash. Lastly, of those who visited mid-range family restaurants/ cafes, 17% used credit cards compared to 71% who used cash.

"Qatar's economic outlook continues to be buoyant with consumer confidence one of the highest in the Middle East. The findings of the latest MasterCard survey indicates that this trend is continuing with consumers in Qatar ready to dip into their pockets for discretionary spend on dining out and personal entertainment. This is good news for Qatar's dining and entertainment industries and we can expect these sectors to become more robust in the future," said Safdar Khan, market manager, Qatar, Oman & Kuwait, MasterCard Worldwide.

Trends in Entertainment:

Entertainment continues to be rated highly, with one in two consumers having visited cinemas (48%) and amusement/theme parks (47%) in the recent months. Interestingly, those between the ages of 45-54 years were the most frequent patrons of amusement/theme parks (65%)

The next most popular entertainment destinations for consumers in Qatar were health club/gymnasium (26%) and museums/art galleries (24%).

Looking at the second half of 2011, the top entertainment priorities for consumers in Qatar appear to be catching a movie at the cinema (51%), visiting amusement/ theme parks (50%) and going to museums/ art galleries (37%).

Leisure activities and hobbies that consumers in Qatar currently enjoy or would be interested in for the coming month include, shopping (53%), sports (47%), surfing the web (41%), food (36%) and reading (29%).

On average, consumers in Qatar spend 11% of their personal monthly income on leisure, hobbies, and personal entertainment. This figure is highest for those between 18-24 years of age; the latter spend 14% of their personal monthly income on these activities.

The latest survey was conducted from 15 March and 27 April this year with 17,620 consumers from 25 markets[2]. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa

The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women's Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard's research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.

MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard's 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. Learn more at www.mastercard.com, follow us on Twitter @mastercardnews or join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog.

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