Nielson's latest Consumer Confidence Index puts Vietnam in the Top 10 most optimistic people globally.
Consumer confidence in Vietnam continued to see rapid improvements in Q4 2014 that helped the country become the ninth most-optimistic country globally, with an index of 106 (+ 4 points compared to the previous quarter), according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index released by Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.
According to Mr. Vaughan Ryan, Managing Director of Nielsen Vietnam, over the last two quarters Nielsen have seen a significant increase in the confidence of consumers here in Vietnam. “People are feeling better about their job prospects and about their personal finance and more people are feeling optimistic about the future,” Mr. Ryan said. “More consumers are considering spending again on holidays, clothes and new technology, which are all good signs for the economy.”
The report also revealed that consumers in Southeast Asia are among the most confident globally.
Economy and job security top concerns
Similar to previous quarters, the current state of the economy remains a key concern for consumers. Those in Thailand (49 per cent) and Malaysia (38 per cent) are the most concerned globally while about one-third of consumers in Indonesia (33 per cent) and Vietnam (28 per cent) feel likewise, compared to 25 per cent of consumers globally.
Job security ranks as the second biggest concern for consumers in Southeast Asia (14 per cent), particularly in Singapore (28 per cent), Thailand (28 per cent), and Vietnam (27 per cent). Other major concerns in the region include work/life balance, health, and rising fuel prices.
Saving and investment still a priority
Overall, Southeast Asian consumers are among the world’s most avid savers. When it comes to savings, consumers in Vietnam are the highest globally (77 per cent), while Indonesia ranks third globally (70 per cent). Consumers in Malaysia (67 per cent), the Philippines (63 per cent), Thailand (63 per cent), and Singapore (62 per cent) follow closely.
“These latest findings show that consumers in Southeast Asia are conscientiously planning their financial future,” said Mr. Vishal Bali, Managing Director of Nielsen's Consumer Insights business in Southeast Asia, North Asia and the Pacific. “With disposable income being more readily available than ever before, consumers across the region have the means to invest their spare cash and strengthen their savings, which is driving greater demand for banking and finance services.”
While establishing financial security takes centre stage for consumers in the region, nearly half of Singaporeans (49 per cent) and about two in five consumers in Thailand (44 per cent), Indonesia (40 per cent), Vietnam (40 per cent), and Malaysia (39 per cent) are splashing out on holidays. A further one-third of consumers in the Philippines (35 per cent) and Vietnam (35 per cent) spend their spare cash on new clothing.
Ready to adjust spending to improve savings
The Nielsen survey also indicates that at least eight in ten consumers in Thailand (88 per cent), Vietnam (86 per cent), Malaysia (85 per cent), Indonesia (80 per cent) and the Philippines (80 per cent) have adjusted their spending habits over the past 12 months in a bid to curb household spending because they believe their country is about to go through an economic recession.
More than six in ten consumers in Malaysia (65 per cent) and the Philippines (62 per cent) are spending less on new clothing, while 60 per cent of Vietnamese and 56 per cent of Thais and Malaysians have cut down on out-of-home entertainment in an effort to reduce household expenses. Other areas where consumers are cutting back include delaying technology upgrades, switching to cheaper grocery brands, saving on gas and electricity use, and reducing holidays and short breaks.
“While consumer confidence is relatively stable across Southeast Asia, consumers are expressing concern around areas such as job security and economic health, and as a result are cautious with their spending,” said Mr. Bali. “There is a collective sense of debt-avoidance in the region, and this is resulting in subdued purchasing of big ticket items.”
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with internet access in 60 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.