Photo - Richard Hall - MD, Nielsen Malaysia.
While Malaysian consumer confidence dropped by two points in the fourth quarter of 2012, it is still higher than the same period in the previous year, according to market research firm Nielsen.
The 2012 Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions still shows that Malaysia has maintained its ninth highest consumer confidence index score among the countries measured despite a two point drop in the index to 103 in the final quarter of 2012 from three months ago, said Nielsen Malaysia managing director Richard Hall.
"The fourth quarter Consumer Confidence Index in Malaysia decreased slightly by two points despite the announcement of several economic indicators which beat market expectations," said Hall.
'The local Inflation rate grew at its slowest pace in December at one point two percent while gross domestic product (GDP) grew by five point two percent in the third quarter suggesting an overall stable economy," he said. "However, consumers are cautious how much the domestic economy can buffer Malaysia from external uncertainties such as the struggle for growth in major export markets, the risk of the Eurozone crisis unfolding and the slowdown in China. The drop in confidence is reflected in the level of optimism towards job prospects."
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted during 10-27 November 2012 and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
"However, about two thirds of Malaysians (63 percent) claim their job prospects as excellent and or good over the next 12 months," said Hall. "The two percentage point drop was due to the fall from 11 percent to nine percent for those who rated their job prospects as excellent. This has positioned Malaysia as the eighth most confident nation on job prospects among the 58 countries surveyed. Malaysia was at sixth position three months earlier."
"Overall optimism towards personal finances remained at 62 percent," he said. "However, nine percent of consumers surveyed online described their state of personal finances as excellent as compared to seven percent in the previous quarter. As a result, Malaysia is back in the top ten list, at tenth position among all countries surveyed."
Hall said that the survey also showed that two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents stated that the coming 12 months will not be a good time to purchase items they want and need, the percentage has risen by seven percent from the third quarter of 2012 . "The movement of FMCG sales in the month of October to December mirrored the cautious spending patterns."
"Purchasing power in the fourth quarter, which covered the post Hari Raya festivities and year-end sales season reflected the public sentiment; the FMCG value sales tracked by Nielsen continued the slowdown in growth seen throughout 2012, registering a negative," he said.
"Despite some people friendly measures announced in the 2013 budget, which intended to help spur domestic spending, spending wisely on household disposable income is still a preferred choice," said Hall. "In addition, almost five in one (19 percent) online consumers still consider the state of the economy as their biggest concern compared to three months ago. Debt resurfaced at second position (12 percent) surpassing concerns over job security (11 percent) and political stability (eight percent)."
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