Singapore consumers among region’s most upbeat

Published 1 February 2011
The Business Times
By Nisha Ramchandani

CONSUMER confidence in Singapore was higher year- on-year in the fourth quarter of last year, though it fell slightly from the third quarter, according to the latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index.

Singapore consumers among region's most upbeatThe index tracks consumer sentiment in relation to the current economic environment as well as intentions and expectations for the future. Levels above 100 indicate degrees of optimism.

Singapore scored 109 points in 4Q10, down slightly from 113 in 3Q10, but up from 100 points in 4Q09.

‘Despite a four percentage point dip in the consumer confidence index, an index of 109 is still a positive one,’ said Joan Koh, MD of the Nielsen Company (Singapore). ‘The fact remains that the economy continues to boom, thanks in large part to government initiatives to manage sustainable growth, and strong regional growth.’

According to the index, Singaporeans appear upbeat about employment prospects over the next 12 months. In Asia Pacific, Singaporeans were the second most optimistic group – after India – with 90 per cent indicating they feel positive about job prospects.

At the same time, Singaporean consumers are also mindful of increasing costs.

‘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 Ms Koh.

As such, while 54 per cent of Singaporeans polled still plan to splurge on holidays, 65 per cent also said that spare cash would be channelled to savings.

Countries in Asia Pacific emerged markedly more upbeat than counterparts in Europe and North America. Nine of the top 10 most optimistic countries were from Asia Pacific, judging from 4Q10 numbers. However, Latin America was the world’s most optimistic region with 100 points, followed by Asia Pacific with 97 points. North America scored 83 index points, and Europe, 78 points.

The survey covered over 29,000 online consumers in 52 countries last November.

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