21 June 2010
Consumer confidence in Singapore for the first quarter of 2010 has increased again, providing a definitive sign that the nation is beginning to recover from the recession. According to the latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence index has risen to 107 points, representing an eleven point increase from six months ago. Six of the top ten most confident nations globally are in Asia Pacific, with India (127) taking the lead, followed by Indonesia (116), the Philippines (111), Australia (111), China (107), and Singapore (107). Asia Pacific posted highest confidence increase of all regions (+8) due in part to big jumps in Taiwan (+14) and Singapore (+11) and India (+7).
Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence Index tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 27,000 Internet users in 55 countries. In the latest round of the survey conducted between March 8 and March 26, 2010, consumer confidence in many markets rebounded to pre-recession levels of late 2007 and early 2008. Additionally, over the past year, the number of global consumers who believe they are currently in recession dropped 19 points to 58 percent, compared to 77 percent a year ago.
Asia Leading the Race Out of Recession
All global regions posted positive increases in consumer confidence, but the pace and extent of economic recovery further widened between the booming Asia Pacific and Latin American countries compared to the sluggish recovery in the United States and western Europe.
“Singapore consumers have started to feel that the economy has bottomed out and embraced the idea of recovery. There has been a dramatic drop in the percentage of people who think we’re still in a recession –just 28% in Q1 versus 59% in Q3 of last year,” said Joan Koh, Managing Director, Singapore, The Nielsen Company. “Consumers are already displaying stronger confidence levels generally. The opening of the 2 Integrated Resorts, coupled with the steady rise in property prices have added to the growth 'halo' effect.”
Consumers Ready to Spend
Asian consumers cut back drastically on all aspects of discretionary spending 18 months ago, but have now indicated they plan to increase spending on out-of-home entertainment (+9 percent), new technology (+6 percent), holidays (+6 percent) and new clothes (+5 percent) compared to six months ago.
Forty-three percent of Singaporeans said this is the right time for them to buy the things that they want, an increase from 32% in Q3 2009. Three-quarters (74%) intended to put their spare cash into savings first, before spending on holidays/vacations (58%), new clothes (33%), investments in shares of stock/mutual funds (33%), and new technology products (31%). A majority (63%) said the state of their personal finances is good or excellent, up from 53% in Q3 2009.
The jumps in consumer confidence and reinvigorated spending habits have been driven by improved confidence for jobs and employment, which has steadily risen in the past six months. Nearly three-quarters (76%) of Singaporeans indicated that they are positive about employment prospects.
“Positive economic indicators and growing consumer optimism could bring about further positive growth here in Singapore. With the increasing number of multinationals setting up their regional business hub in Singapore, Singapore consumers will have more employment options and choices. Consumer demand and expectations will continue to grow as a result, fostering a more intense and competitive consumer industry than before,” said Koh.
Top Two Concerns: Work-life Balance, and the Economic Situation
About the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey
Despite rising confidence levels, the top two concerns of consumers remain work-life balance, and the economy. As Singaporeans typically work long hours, they are concerned how they can enjoy both work and personal lives and maintain a healthy balance between the two aspects. In addition, with the nation having just emerged from a recession, Singaporeans are still nervous and sensitive to bad news relating to both local and global economies.
The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey was conducted between March 8 and March 26, 2010 and polled over 27, 000 consumers in 55 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America about their confidence levels and economic outlook. The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumers’ confidence in the job market, status of their personal finances and readiness to spend. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%.
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related assets. The privately held company has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.
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