Visa: Lebanese are “last minute shoppers”
Visa International’s latest figures for December 2003 confirm that Lebanese consumers increasingly recognize payment cards as a safer and more convenient alternative to cash.
Furthermore, statistics for the month revealed that Lebanese shoppers tend to leave the majority of their purchasing until only a couple of days before Christmas.
During the month of December 2003, the total number of point of sale transactions made at shops and services with Lebanese Visa cards reached over 170,000 transactions, resulting in a 27 percent increase over the previous year, reported a press release.
When analyzing the entire month, Tuesday December 23, witnessed the highest activity with 30 percent more merchant transactions than any other day to reach over 12,000 Visa transactions. This equates to nearly 500 transactions every hour of the day.
“Essentially the Lebanese are polychronic,” according to visiting Professor of Marketing at the Lebanese American University Jim Finlay. “Meaning that they do more than one thing at a time. As a result they get overloaded with activities and some things get done at the last minute. This is in contrast to Western markets, which tend to be seen as monochronic with much of the shopping generally taking place in advance of Christmas.”
“The most encouraging factor is that approximately 70 percent of the transactions were made with debit cards such as Visa Electron, demonstrating that Visa is not just a credit card for high value expenditures, but rather an essential every-day payment tool,” said General Manager for Levant, Said Shoqum, speaking on behalf of Visa International.
Shoqum explains the growth trend: “More and more member banks are introducing Visa Electron debit to their customers in replacement of their proprietary ATM-only cards. Banks recognize that Visa Electron is truly a global payment instrument and far more convenient than using cash or cheques.”
“I am sure that this level of convenience has been the reason for the huge growth of debit payments in Lebanon,” explained Shoqum noting that another advantage of debit cards is the correlation with economic development due to the increased bank deposits, greater transparency and accountability of electronic payments, which provide banks with the funds to support the development of the local economy. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)