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Mastercard initiative to inform business and government economic response efforts

Businesses and governments across the globe are looking for resources to help better manage the health, safety and economic risks presented by the recent pandemic. To assist in these efforts, Mastercard has launched Recovery Insights, a set of tools and research that are designed to provide some certainty today and support data-driven decision-making in the future.

The initiative draws on Mastercard's analytics and experimentation platforms, its longstanding consulting practice and data-driven insights.

"Enabling smarter decisions with better outcomes is our goal," said Raj Seshadri, president of data and services, Mastercard. "And, it's what airlines, restaurants, CPG brands, banks, governments and countless others are seeking right now. Our insights are helping apparel brands refine their inventory to address the rise in e-commerce, grocers fine-tune store hours to give at-risk shoppers peace of mind, and governments guide services to fuel local economies."

Empowering data-driven decision-making

As part of the initiative, Mastercard is making certain insight-driven tools available at no cost to governments and select businesses to give a timely snapshot of economic performance. These solutions draw on aggregated and anonymised spending insights to provide an ongoing view of economic health.

To assess the local effects of COVID-19 and build a foundation for an inclusive recovery, dozens of cities (including New York City, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Los Angeles and Logan City, Australia), states (Arizona) and national governments (Turespaña, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain) are now using Mastercard tools. These solutions are used to help inform budget planning, optimise aid disbursement, understand which merchants are open for business, and prioritise investment to support those most impacted by the pandemic.

“Access to Mastercard’s insights gives us a much more detailed picture of the economic health of the capital’s high streets during lockdown – and as we move towards easing restrictions,” commented London’s chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell. “It complements other insights we’re gathering which allows us to target future investments and understand the emerging needs of businesses and communities across London.”

Meanwhile, US small business owners are using the tools to better understand local customer spending trends, while central banks around the world are collaborating with the Mastercard Economics Institute to better understand changing market conditions through regular COVID economic impact trackers.

Informing plans to reopen New York City

In New York City, retail sales were down 44% at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Policymakers needed to understand how the steep decline in spending would impact the city’s sales tax revenue in order to adjust their budgets. Mastercard Geographic Insights identified spending pattern changes in specific neighbourhoods.

Mastercard says it is also working closely with local institutions, trade organisations and other groups on recovery efforts. For instance, the non-profit Partnership for New York City provides its business, civic and labor members a regular snapshot of NYC sales performance in the broader context of consumer spending trends.

“The Mastercard insights into how the pandemic and quarantine are impacting consumer spending have helped us understand the huge and devastating impact of COVID-19 on jobs and the local economy," said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. "We all need good data to inform our policy and advocacy on behalf of the city and state, and this is what Mastercard is providing.”

“We're committed to helping government leaders take an evidence-based approach to policy and programme development,” added Miguel Gamino, executive vice president, Enterprise Partnerships and head of Global Cities at Mastercard. "Given the multitude of challenges today, they're activating our network to support areas ranging from aid disbursements to emergency fundraising to cyber security assessments and identity theft protection. It's about building more inclusive economies for everyone, everywhere."

Upcoming research

The Mastercard Recovery Insights initiative will also feature a research series about the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on economies, businesses and people. The first report, available in June, will focus on the retail sector’s shift to digital.

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