Filipino consumers continue to have one of the highest confidence levels to spend in the third quarter of the year among residents of 58 countries surveyed by media research firm Nielsen.
Despite this, the latest results of the Consumer Confidence Index showed that spending remained “restrained” and that saving was the top priority for those surveyed.
Just like in the previous quarter, the Philippines was ranked third, behind Indonesia and India, in consumer confidence levels, with a score of 118, up from 112 in the same quarter last year.
“This paints a positive picture for the third quarter of 2012,” Nielsen Philippines managing director Stuart Jamieson said in a statement. “The high confidence can be attributed to the positive perception regarding local job prospects in the country for the next 12 months, which at this point is the second-highest worldwide.”
He added that “expansion plans in the energy, transportation, telecom industries and largely the BPOs (business business outsourcing), are helping to create this positive perception in the country.”
The Nielsen global survey of consumer confidence and spending intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 Internet consumers in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
The study also showed that Filipino online consumers felt positively about the state of their personal finances, ranking second among the most optimistic about their personal finances in the world.
For the third quarter of 2012, perceptions of Filipinos on whether it was a good or a bad time to buy things that they wanted and needed over the next 12 months showed a slight improvement in confidence with 7 percent saying that it was an excellent time to do so as compared to 5 percent a year ago. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents said that it was a good time to buy compared to 42 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
When there was spare cash available in the household, 67 percent of Filipino respondents said they would rather put this into savings, while 34 percent would buy new technology products. Some 32 percent would purchase new clothes while 28 percent would pay off debt, credit cards or loans, and 27 percent would spend it on holiday or vacation.
“The Philippines is among the top 10 countries which prioritize savings when there is spare cash in the household,” Jamieson said.
Among the major concerns of those polled over the next six months, job security remained at the top of the list as it did in the same quarter last year. It was followed by work/life balance, health, welfare and happiness of parents, and education and/or welfare of children.
“This is a true mirror of the Filipino culture, which is very focused on the family,” the Nielsen chief said. “These five major concerns are all related to the family, whether it is for the parents’ or children’s welfare. If you look at it worldwide, the Philippines is number one among the top 10 countries who said that they are concerned about their parents’ welfare and happiness.”
In the third quarter of last year, Filipinos’ concern about the economy was part of the top five concerns but for this year, it ranked number six.
While recessionary sentiment increased seven percentage points in the Asia-Pacific to 52 percent, Filipino sentiment toward the economic state of the Philippines improved with 56 percent. This was a big difference if compared to Korean and Taiwanese respondents, 86 percent of whom were of the opinion that they were in a recession.
The report shows that to save on household expenses, Filipinos have lessened their expenses on new clothes, saving on gas and electricity, delaying their upgrades on technology like computers and mobile devices, switching to cheaper grocery brands and cutting down on take-away meals. Should economic conditions improve, the respondents said that they will continue doing these actions.
(Story courtesy of Daxim L. Lucas of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)