THE PHILIPPINES has one of the most optimistic consumers in the world, with the country ranking third among 58 economies in a Nielsen survey that found sentiment as having edged up globally in the third quarter.
The country scored 118, up from 112 a year earlier, in the research firm’s latest Consumer Confidence Index that was topped by Indonesia and India (both scoring 119).
“This paints a positive picture for the third quarter of 2012,” Nielsen Philippines Managing Director Stuart Jamieson said.
“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.
“Expansion plans in the energy, transportation, telecom industries and largely, the BPOs (business process outsourcing), are helping to create this positive perception in the country.”
The online survey, conducted from Aug. 10 to Sept. 7, involved over 29,000 respondents from 58 economies throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
The global score rose by a point to 92 after dipping three points in the second quarter, and was four points higher than a year earlier.
The reading, however, signalled that consumers remained pessimistic. Sixty-two percent said they believed their national economies were in recession up from 57% in the previous quarter. Half expected the recession to last another year.
Confidence remained the strongest in emerging markets although Switzerland also figured in the top 10, highlighting a widening recovery gap between northern and southern Europe.
Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen, said further policy action was needed to boost global consumer sentiment.
Recessionary sentiment in the Asia-Pacific worsened by seven points to 52% but in the Philippines this fell to 56% from 59% in the last quarter. Twenty-nine percent of Filipinos are confident that a recession would end in 12 months, up from 27%.
Nielsen noted that majority of Filipinos (63%) felt positive about their personal finances, with the country also ranking second worldwide. Thirty-nine percent said the third quarter was a good time to make purchases, down from 42% a year earlier, but 7% — from 5% previously — said it was an excellent time to do so.
Spending, however, “continues to be restrained,” Nielsen said, with 78% responding that they had moved to save on household expenses compared to the 22% who said no.
Respondents said they had held off from buying new clothes and gadgets, were saving on gas and electricity, switched to cheaper grocery brands and cut down on take-away meals.
Major concerns over the next six months for Filipinos were job security, work/life balance, health, welfare and happiness of parents and education of children. — ENJD with a report from Reuters