Vietnam will lead the Asia/Pacific region in three top spending categories for the first six months of this year, according to the latest MasterCard on Consumer Purchasing Priorities.

The top three spending categories are Dining and Entertainment, Fashion and Accessories, and Fitness and Well-being.

The survey found that well-heeled consumers across the Asia/Pacific region expect dining and entertainment to be their top spending priority over the next six months.

The survey, released twice a year, measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market for the next six months. The latest release conducted from 13 September to 11 November 2010, covered 10,502 consumers from 24 markets across the Asia/Pacific and Middle East regions as well as the African continent.

The percentage of consumers in the Asia/Pacific region going to spend on fashion and accessories increased by six points to 50 percent from six months ago. A similar increase of six points to 43 percent was recorded in the consumer electronics category.

The survey's numbers represent "the most favorable sentiment in terms of discretionary spending intentions since the survey started collecting this data", the release said.

Mainland China (31 percent), Hong Kong (29 percent) and India (26 percent) had the highest percentage of consumers planning to increase their discretionary spending in the next six months, the survey found.

The highest percentage of consumers planning to maintain their level of discretionary funding were found in Vietnam (62 percent), Australia (59 percent) and the Republic of Korea (59 percent).

With regard to resilient categories for discretionary spending, the MasterCard Worldwide Index found that private tuition and extra curricular activities of children topped the list. The highest index scores in this category for the Asia/Pacific region belong to India (95.7 percent), Vietnam (92.7 percent) and Indonesia (88.9 percent).

The index measures how resilient the categories in the survey are to unexpected cutbacks in planned expenditure. The more resilient a category is, the less likely there will be a reduction in spending for that category in the event of an unexpected shock to expenditure.

The release quoted group executive Yunsok Chang as saying: "Combined with the data on discretionary spending, which are at the highest levels since the survey began, the latest findings show strong consumer sentiment for private consumption over the first half of 2011"./.