31 January 2007
Singaporean consumer confidence continues to ride high in the latest ACNielsen Consumer Confidence Index according to ACNielsen, the world’s leading market research and information company.
Since the establishment of the ACNielsen Consumer Confidence Index in early 2005, consumer sentiments in Singapore have marked a gradual uptrend —from an initial Index of 99, to 103 in the later half of 2005, followed by 110 in May 2006 and now at 111 in the latest survey—13 points above the global average of 99.
“With Singapore’s consistent robust economic performance in 2006, along with the recent positive news on the job market, a corresponding rise in optimism amongst the locals comes almost expected,” said Mr Ashok Charan, Managing Director of ACNielsen Singapore.
Globally, India yet again leads with an all-time-high Index of 137. Achieving second and third place in the 46 country Confidence Index are Norwegians (134) and Danes (129).
While confidence has been sustained globally, consumers continue to cite the Economy (39%), Health (34%) and Job Security (32%) as their major concerns over the coming six months, although the level of concern for the Economy and Health has declined moderately since the first half of 2006.
In Singapore, concerns across these three areas have also eased significantly compared to the first half of the year.
Globally, consumers in Indonesia and Thailand are the world’s most concerned about the Economy (65%) followed by Taiwan (62%) and Hong Kong (61%). In fact, seven of the top 10 markets most concerned for the Economy all hail from Asia Pacific. Outside this list is Singapore, where less than half of locals (43%) expressed anxiety about the economy. This is a considerable decline of 11 percentage points compared to the previous round.
Health remains one of the top concerns for a third of the world consumer. In Singapore, where around four in ten Singaporeans (42%) used to be anxious about health matters, only 36 percent now see it as a concern.
While concern about the economy and health seems to have abated among global consumers, the level of concern about job security continues. Topping the world as the most concerned about job security is Hungary where nearly two-thirds of consumers worry about their jobs. Chilean and Vietnamese consumers follow closely with 62 percent and 60 percent respectively. Job security ranks foremost – alongside the Economy -- as the top concern amongst Singaporeans (43%).
Spending sentiment in the next 12 months
Along with an improving consumer confidence comes a more positive disposition among consumers to spend. Globally, 43 percent of the world’s Internet consumers think now is a good/excellent time to buy the things they want and need in the next 12 months.
“Consumers are generally more upbeat about the state of their personal finances and are less concerned about the economy and job market. Continuing from the Christmas trading period and as we head into the Lunar New Year period, these factors have effectively ‘switched on’ consumers’ spend button,” commented Mr Charan.
The high spending propensity is mainly driven by consumers in Asia Pacific where all markets except for Japan registered an increase in intention to spend. In particular, over half of consumers surveyed in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong perceive the next 12 months as a good/excellent time to spend on things they need. Following closely is Singapore, where nearly half the respondents (49%) also expressed the same sentiments.
Globally, 58 percent of world consumers are optimistic about the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months with India ranking topmost (87%). At 53 percent positive, Asia Pacific recorded an increase of four percentage points from 49 percent in the last survey. Close to seven in ten Singaporean respondents—four percent more compared to earlier this year—have indicated similar optimism.
Retailers should be all set to maximize sales opportunities which started since Christmas, as consumers prepare to spend in the next 12 months, and as the crucial holiday selling period kicks off. In Singapore, the top three options locals are intending to use their spare cash for remain the same as the last survey—Holidays/vacations (60%), New clothing (32%), and Paying off debts/credit cards/loan (27%).
“Not surprisingly, many Singaporeans are avid travelers and still prefer to indulge in overseas vacations. This trend is further fuelled by the many travel fairs that we have all year round which entices people with their attractive deals. The travel bug is likely to linger around for a while,” said Mr Charan.
Asia Pacific has the most savers in the world
Despite greater consumer confidence, the world’s top savers still reside in Asia Pacific. Compared to the last survey, nonetheless, less claim to put their spare cash into savings (49%). Thailand again led the “Top Ten Global Savers” list, with 71 percent claiming to save their spare cash after covering essential living expenses, followed by people in Singapore and Taiwan (60%). The Philippines (57%) and Hong Kong (55%) are the only two markets in the top 10 savers list that have less people opting to save their spare cash. UAE is the only non Asian market that ranked among the top ten, with 53 percent opting to save.
The ACNielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey is the largest half-yearly survey of its kind aimed at gauging current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and current major concerns of consumers across the globe. The ACNielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumer’s confidence in the job market, status of their personal finance and their readiness to spend. The latest survey, conducted in late October/early November, polled about 25,408 internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, the Baltics and the Middle East.
46 Markets Covered:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czechs, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, US, Vietnam.
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