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Singapore consumer confidence still in doldrums but hits 3-year high in Q3: poll

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CONSUMER confidence in Singapore rose in the third quarter to its highest level since entering pessimistic territory three years ago, according to the latest Singapore Consumer Confidence Index out on Wednesday.

CONSUMER confidence in Singapore rose in the third quarter to its highest level since entering pessimistic territory three years ago, according to the latest Singapore Consumer Confidence Index out on Wednesday. But at 98 points, up from 94 points the previous quarter, consumer confidence has yet to take a turn into optimism. The index for Singapore has been in pessimistic territory - and also below the global index level - since Q4 2015, when it dipped from 101 to 94 points.

Based on The Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with Nielsen, the index is driven by three indicators: consumers’ perception of the state of their personal finances, local job prospects, and their spending intentions. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Singapore saw improvements in all three indicators on both a year-to-year and quarter-on-quarter basis.

“Backed by expansions in the service industry and increases for overall employment in Q3 2018, Singaporean consumers are warming up in their confidence levels,” said Nielsen Singapore managing director Johan Vrancken.

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Some 57 per cent of respondents believed the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months would be excellent or good, up from 53 per cent the previous quarter and 52 per cent in the year-ago period. Regarding job prospects in the next 12 months, 48 per cent had a positive view, up from 44 per cent a quarter ago and 42 per cent in Q3 2017.

And 39 per cent said "now is the time to buy the things they want and need", up from 36 per cent the previous quarter and 31 per cent in Q3 2017. However, spending on some specific discretionary items saw quarter-on-quarter decreases, with fewer Singapore consumers intending to spend on new clothes (down six percentage points) and holidays or vacations (down five percentage points), among others.

Job security was the top concern, cited by 18 per cent of respondents. Coming in joint second were concerns over the economy and work-life balance, at 14 per cent each.

The survey covers over 32,000 respondents in 64 countries, including 501 from Singapore.