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SE Asian consumers more optimistic

Southeast Asian consumers lead the world with a strong sense of cautious optimism, with confidence in the region continuing to rank among the highest globally.

According to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, Indonesia maintained the top spot on the global Consumer Confidence Index, up four points in the latest quarter to 124, which was 30 points above the average global score of 94.

Philippines and Thailand also remained among the top 10 with Consumer Confidence Index scores of 114 (down four points) and 109 (down three points) respectively.

Malaysia and Vietnam both recorded 98, Singapore 97.

“The fact that Southeast Asian consumers continue to be so optimistic about their personal financial situations and their nations’ economies in comparison to other nations around the world reflects rising affluence in the region, the continued growth of middle class populations, and a strong economic outlook,” said Matt Krepsik, executive director of Nielsen’s marketing effectiveness business in Southeast Asia, North Asia and Pacific.

“Rising foreign investment and income levels continue to be central to the economic theme playing out across Southeast Asia and consumers remain buoyant as they reap the benefits of the economic boon the region is experiencing.”

When it comes to allocating their spare cash, Southeast Asian consumers continue to be avid savers and all six Southeast Asian nations covered in Nielsen’s survey ranked in the world’s top 10 biggest savers.

With confidence riding at record highs across the region, consumers were also intent on increasing their spending on vacations, in particular Singaporeans who recorded the highest level of intention globally to spend on holidays in the next year, (49 per cent), followed by Indonesia (42 per cent), Malaysia (41 per cent), Thailand (40 per cent), Vietnam (31 per cent) and the Philippines (28 per cent).

Although optimism and confidence is high in Southeast Asia, consumers are diligent when it comes to keeping a check on their general household expenses. Around nine in 10 consumers in Thailand and Vietnam (91 per cent and 90 per cent respectively) changed their spending in the past year to save on household expenses, as did 85 per cent of Filipinos, 81 per cent of Malaysians, 78 per cent of Indonesians and 60 per cent of Singaporeans.

“What we are seeing is a propensity to adapt quickly and decisively shift spending when required,” said Krepsik.

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