Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Macau consumers show they are happy shoppers and diners

Posted by Kimberly on July 19, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
July 19 2007, page 2 (1,148 words)

 

Recent consumer survey results show an overwhelming level of satisfaction with shopping, dining and entertaining in Macau as opposed to Zhuhai.
The results of the Macau Consumer Satisfaction Indices were released by the market research centre of The Institute for Sustainable Development, Macau University of Science and Technology yesterday.
Over one thousand Macau residents were randomly surveyed during May using the ‘telephone investigation system’, with scores ranging from 0 to 100, the latter being the highest level of satisfaction.
Six indices and five factors within those indices were used to ascertain consumer satisfaction levels.
The first two indices, shopping in Macau and Zhuhai, show a difference of more then five points in satisfaction levels between the two areas.
Macau scored 70.9 while Zhuhai scored 65.6 points.
This difference is the most significant in the comparison of overall satisfaction levels within the three areas.
In addition, Macau also scored higher in levels concerned with goods quality, service quality and value for money.
The first factor, goods quality, showed an overall satisfaction level of 67.4 compared with Zhuhai’s 61.4.
Satisfaction levels in relation to value for money showed a difference of 2.7, with Macau at 68.3 and Zhuhai at 65.6.
Lastly, Service quality registered satisfaction levels of 67.7 for Macau and 60.3 for Zhuhai.
The latter shows a dramatic difference of 7.4 points between Macau and Zhuhai, the biggest difference in comparison between all the factors within the six indices.
According to the report, this indicates that, with “regard to shopping, Macau residents enjoyed much better service in Macau than in Zhuhai.”
The second and third index showed satisfaction levels of dining in Macau and Zhuhai were not as varied, with Macau having a score of 65.3 and Zhuhai, 65.3 reflecting only a 3.3 difference.
The same three factors were again used to measure satisfaction levels, with food quality registering the highest difference of 6 points.
This “indicates the food quality if better guaranteed in Macau restaurants,” according to the report.
Macau scored 69 points while Zhuhai scored 63 points on the sub-index.
With regards to service quality and value for money, Macau scored 66.7 and 67.8 respectively, while Zhuhai scored 61.4 and 66.6 respectively.
The last two indices relate to entertainment in Macau and Zhuhai, with respondents showing a satisfaction rating of 67.8 for Macau and 67.5 for Zhuhai.
The difference of 0.3 is the closest result in the three-area satisfaction comparison.
Within these two indices, only service quality and value for money were analysed, showing an average level of difference between the two areas.
Macau scored 66.6 compared with 62.1 in the former factor, while the S.A.R scored 66.4 to Zhuhai’s 70.3 in the latter.
This final factor is the only one where Zhuhai scores higher than Macau.
Overall, figures show that shopping in Macau scored the highest levels of satisfaction, at 70.9, while dining in Zhuhai scored 65.3, the lowest.
The report suggests that “to improve the level of consumer satisfaction in Macau, the most effective way was to increase value for money for both shopping and entertainment…and to improve food quality.”
Despite the survey covering five factors, only three were provided for in the results.
According to Professor Chan Lai Kow, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development, the two factors, customer complaints and loyalty, were not included in the results because of the very low numbers, or 0.5 points.
While the numbers were used in the calculation of the model, it was not presented as part of the survey results.
Asked why the survey was presented on a scale of 0-100, Professor Chan said, “in the questionnaire we don’t try to put so much detail.
“We put it from 0-10. But then we modify the result by 10. And that happens in other countries too. “It makes it easier because 85 or 86 doesn’t mean too much. But the final result [using this method] will make it more understandable,” he said.
According to the report, one of the reasons Macau residents were previously enthusiastic about Zhuhai’s shopping, dining and entertainment, was because the “mainland surpassed Macau in goods variety, prices and even service attitude.”
It suggests however, that “as the competition becomes increasingly intense, Macau shops have learnt to improve themselves.”
The report goes on to say that with the Chinese currency every appreciating and the mainland market full of shoddy goods and unsanitary food, “these factors have contributed to the reversal of Macau residents’ consuming satisfaction in Macau and Zhuhai.”
It also notes that Macau’s lower index of value for money in entertainment is “mainly caused by the increasing operational costs due to the rapid development of the gambling industry.”
While the results prove favourable to Macau, he report suggest that local stores have plenty to do in order to increase local consumption.
“To continuously improve the quality of their goods and services, so as to increase residents’ confidence in the reliability and safety of goods and food, [and also to] enhance training of employees to treat customers honestly and professionally.”
The survey was conducted in co-operation with the Macau Consumer Council, during which process, 403 respondents were questioned about the Council’s recognition schemes for improving the quality of goods, food and services.
These schemes of ‘adherents’ and ‘certified shops’ were launched in 1998 and 2001 respectively.
The Council is a voluntary arbitration centre, where those promising to solve the problems of their consumers or go to the arbitration centre for a session with a judge, should no solution be agreed upon, become adherents.
“We publicise their image and then invite consumers, tourists and local citizens to pay attention to these ‘adherents’,” said Mr Alexandre Ho, Executive President of the Council.
“So adherents who have passed one year of probation, where the Consumer Council find that they really comply with our rules, then we will give them a qualification of ‘certified shop’.
“Our certified shops and our adherence are more or less like the qualified shops in Hong Kong,” said, adding that any store wanting to set up business in Macau, had to “apply because our rules are different.
“In Hong Kong they don’t have voluntary arbitration,” he said.
More than half the respondents of the survey, or 52 percent, were aware of the schemes, with two-thirds (66.8 percent) willing to choose shops labelled ‘adherent’ or ‘certified shop’.
Yet despite this, 58.6 percent of respondents had not noticed whether a shop they visited the last time were recognised under these labels.
The report suggests that the scheme has “generally been recognised by Macau residents [but that the schemes] haven’t been built into distinctive brand images in Macau residents’ minds.”
The Consumer Council plans on using the results of this survey to further promote this scheme to both consumers and shops.
The research team also consisted of Assistant Professors Liu Dingji, Shi Guicheng and Huang Yejian.
The project coordinator was Mr Leong Lat Fo.

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