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Singapore's consumer confidence dips in Q4: Nielsen index

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SINGAPORE'S consumer confidence index has fallen seven points to 94 in Q4, according to the latest Nielsen global survey of consumer confidence and spending released on Tuesday.

SINGAPORE'S consumer confidence index has fallen seven points to 94 in Q4, according to the latest Nielsen global survey of consumer confidence and spending released on Tuesday.

The Nielsen consumer confidence index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions, among more than 30,000 respondents in 61 countries.

Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism respectively.

According to its findings, Singaporeans have displayed signs of apprehension in Q4 (40 per cent, as compared to 30 per cent in Q3).

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Job security (30 per cent) and the economy (30 per cent) are the top major concerns to locals.

"The slowdown in China has a direct and broad-based impact on businesses and jobs in Singapore as China is the largest export destination for the nation," said Joan Koh, managing director of Singapore and Malaysia, Nielsen. "Layoffs in the financial sector due to a changing business environment, weak macro economy and higher costs have also added to the rising concerns of job security and a lacklustre economy."

In view of the situation, consumers have cut back on lifestyle expenses including shopping for new clothes (62 per cent), holidays and short breaks (50 per cent), and out-of-home entertainment (47 per cent).

Locals are also switching to cheaper grocery brands (43 per cent) and saving on gas and electricity (41 per cent).

Respondents have also indicated that they will continue to reduce their discretionary spending when times are better, especially on buying new clothes (36 per cent), expenditures on gas and electricity (29 per cent) and splurging on out-of-home entertainment (27 per cent).

Nielsen's findings also show that Singaporeans remain among the top savers and investors in the world.

Some 64 per cent put their money into savings, while three in 10 Singaporeans (30 per cent) have invested in shares and mutual funds.

One in four locals (25 per cent) will top up their retirement funds to ensure a comfortable retirement in their golden years.

"Our findings continue to reveal that Singaporeans have displayed a strong desire to ensure financial security through savings and investments regardless of a rainy day," added Ms Koh. "In addition, Singapore has an ageing population and it is a wise choice to plan early for the retirement nest egg."

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