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MANILA, Philippines – Filipino consumers are the most confident in Southeast Asia and the second most optimistic in the world in the second quarter, a Nielsen survey showed.
While confidence levels in Southeast Asia remained relatively high, the Philippines was the only market where consumer sentiment increased in the past quarter, gaining 7 points to rise to a score of 122, the country’s highest level on record.
In contrast, Vietnam (104) reported Southeast Asia’s biggest quarterly decline in confidence by 8 points, followed by Malaysia (89), which dropped 5 points from the first quarter.
The Philippines, Indonesia (120), Thailand (111), and Vietnam were among the top 10 most optimistic markets globally.
The Nielsen second quarter Consumer Confidence Index released on Monday, July 27, showed that Filipino consumers’ optimism at 122 points surpassed the global consumer confidence score of 96 points.
Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
What drives Filipinos’ optimism?
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances, and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.
Nielsen Philippines managing director Stuart Jamieson said an upsurge of revenues from the strong business process outsourcing industry, an upswing in the construction sector, and strong consumption spending levels are fueling growth in the country.
“Fast-moving consumer goods sales are up 9.8% January-May 2015 from last year, with growth across all retail channels,” he added.
Consumers in the Philippines likewise expressed optimism in local job prospects (75%, up two percentage points from the previous quarter) and their personal finances (81%, +4 percentage points from the first quarter) in the next 12 months.
What worries consumers
Across the region though, consumers continue to flag the state of the economy as one of their major concerns in the coming 6 months.
Filipino consumers rank work/life balance as their top concern followed by job security.
But Filipino consumers, along with their Southeast Asian counterparts, continue to be among the world’s most conscientious savers.
Consumers in Vietnam are the biggest savers globally (73%), consumers from the Philippines (72%) and Indonesia (69%) rank second and third, those from Singapore and Thailand (66%) tie for fifth place, while Malaysian consumers take 6th spot globally.
Although Filipino consumers remain conscientious toward securing their finances, 34% (+7 from the first quarter), the survey revealed that after covering essential living expenses, they will spend on holidays, while 29% (+2 from the previous quarter), will use spare cash on home improvements, and 13% (+1) on out-of-home entertainment.
“With an increasingly buoyant consumer confidence, consumer spending continues to get momentum, including discretionary spending particularly on vacations and out-of-home entertainment,” Jamieson said. – Rappler.com