Consumer confidence in Asia in general was up in the second quarter while the rest of the world was more pessimistic, according to the quarterly study of Nielsen, which monitors and forecasts what consumers watch and buy.
However, there are still a few countries in the region who shared the same lower confidence levels as the rest of the world. These include Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.
A press statement quoting the report titled 'The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, Q2 2012' noted that consumer confidence levels across the world declined in the second quarter at a global average of 91 points. However, confidence is up in Asia, at an average of 95 points.
Indonesia ranked first globally as among the most confident. It was joined by the Philippines, which ranked third, and Malaysia, ranked fifth.
Singapore, Japan, and South Korea joined the rest of the least confidence consumers in the world last quarter, including those coming from European countries Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Hungary. Singapore ranked 17th position, together with Switzerland, Canada, and Chile.
Consumer confidence in Singapore dipped two index points to 94 points after a brief uptick in the first quarter, Nielsen said. There was also a noted pessimism in prospects in the coming months. There was a two-point increase in the number of consumers who feel their job prospects in the future would not be good (46 percent) and a six-point increase in the number of consumers who said they are likely to hold back on spending (68 percent).
Among the top goods that consumers said they held back on are new clothes (58 percent), technology upgrades (43 percent), out-of-home entertainment (45 percent). Instead, consumers said they saved on gas and electricity (47 percent) and switched to cheaper grocery brands (44 percent).
The biggest spending declines in Singapore were reported for holidays and vacations, down eight points to 41 percent, and investments in stock / mutual funds, down eight points to 25 percent.
"The slight pullback in consumer confidence in Singapore is not a surprise given the onslaught of negative news about the global economy and closer to home, uncertainties with the slow-down in China and India. Consumers are signalling a continuing conservatism when it comes to spending and managing their expenses. We expect them to adopt various coping strategies such as value-seeking, buying on promotions and delaying discretionary spending to keep expenses reined in amidst inflationary pressures and worries about the economy," said Joan Koh, managing director, Nielsen Singapore and Malaysia.
Almost one in two Singaporeans (46 percent) also said their personal finances in the next 12 months would be "not so good or bad", up two percentage points from the previous quarter.
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