31 January 2011
- Singapore Ranks Among Top 10 Most Confident Countries in the World
- Consumer Spending on Non-discretionary Items Likely to be Slightly Restrained
Singapore wrapped up 2010 on a positive note, posting a consumer confidence index of 109 in Q4 2010, according to the latest edition of the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, which tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among online consumers. The results in Q4 2010 reflected a 9-point jump year-on-year, as confidence in the country was boosted by strong economic growth, buoyant stock and property markets as well as a strong Singapore dollar. At 109 points, Singapore is the seventh most confident country after India (131), Philippines (120), Norway (119), Indonesia (116), Australia (112), and Switzerland (110).
Latin America was the world’s most optimistic region at 100 points (+6 points year on year), followed by Asia Pacific at 97 points (+6 points year-on-year). According to the survey, which polled around 29,000 Internet consumers in 52 countries last November 2010, 14 out of 52 countries ended the year positively with a consumer confidence index of 100+, an increase compared to 11 countries who hit the 100+ index mark one year ago. Nine of these 14 countries hail from Asia Pacific.
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index provides a single indicator of consumer sentiment towards the current economic situation as well as intentions and expectations for the future. Levels above a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism.
“Despite a 4 percentage point dip in the consumer confidence index, an index of 109 is still a positive one as Singapore managed to hold its own and stay minimally unaffected by the uncertainties we have seen in the other parts of the world. The fact remains that the economy continues to boom, thanks in large part to government initiatives to manage sustainable growth, and strong regional growth,” said Joan Koh, Managing Director, The Nielsen Company Singapore.
Globally, consumers ended 2010 more pessimistic than at the start of last year. Confidence levels fell in half of the countries surveyed as widespread concern over unemployment, job creation, rising food and utility costs eroded expectations of sustained economic recovery.
Consumers Hold Back on Purchases
Nearly one in every two (48%) Singapore respondents perceive that now is not such a good time to buy things; a sentiment in line with global (48%) and regional (49%) consumers. “With rising costs of food, utilities, petrol and transport fuelling speculation that the pace of inflation will pick up as we enter into 2011, consumers perceive direct impact to their disposable incomes and intend to hold back on purchases as a result,” explained Koh.
In terms of how Singapore consumers will spend their spare cash, 65% say they will put their spare cash into savings, 54% on holidays/trips, 33% on new clothes as well as investing in shares of stock/mutual funds. Some of the actions that consumers have taken to save on household expenses include spending less on new clothes (62%), switching to cheaper grocery brands (54%), and cutting down on out-of-home entertainment (48%).
“Coping strategies will represent a combination of essential and discretionary spending, where the focus will be saving on gas and utilities, reducing spend on grocery, take-out, clothing and entertainment expenses. For developed markets such as Singapore, basic and essential strategies like reducing grocery spend will dominate.”
Positive Job Prospects
Employment prospects stay positive this quarter. Among its Asia Pacific counterparts, Singaporeans are the second most optimistic group in terms of job prospects over the next 12 months after India, with 90% indicating they feel positive about employment prospects.
“This does not come as a surprise, in light of recent news that Singapore workers can look forward to heftier bonuses and higher salary increases as 2010 was a recovery year for many employers,” adds Koh.
Top Concerns Are Work-life Balance, and the Economy
Work-life balance continues to be the number one concern for 18% of consumers and have been so throughout 2010. The economy weighs in as the next top concern (12%) as the recovery of the global economy remains fragile and uneven.
About the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey
The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey was conducted between November 10 and November 28, 2010 and polled over 29,000 consumers in 52 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa 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 (NYSE: NLSN) 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 company has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information on The Nielsen Company, visit www.nielsen.com.
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