Asians ready to spend more

Consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific increased in eight of 14 markets in the first quarter, suggesting purse strings will be loosened in coming months.

Confidence was flat in three markets and declined in three.

But importantly, discretionary saving and spending intentions in the Asia Pacific region increased in all categories measured in the survey by market researcher Nielsen.

The region’s biggest quarterly index increase was six points, in both India (121) and Hong Kong (111), says Nielsen.

Confidence in the Philippines (116) Thailand (108), Indonesia (124) and China (111), were among the highest index scores of the 60 countries measured.

“In India, the overall perception about the economy has achieved a steady state as many believe that things cannot get worse and that investments will pick up as the Indian fiscal year ends and most households expect the positive impact of year-end bonuses,” said Piyush Mathur, president, Nielsen India.

“However, inflation continues to be a challenge, and there is a sense of cautious anticipation about the outcomes of the world’s largest democratic election. Despite these factors, discretionary spending intentions are slightly more buoyant than previous quarters, as is typical at the end of the financial year, and in good time for the summer holiday season.”

According to Yan Xuan, president of Nielsen Greater China, confidence was stronger in China’s second and third tier cities.

“In these lower tier locations, consumers have higher average salaries than their counterparts in lower tier locations, and they have less work and life pressures than those living in Tier 1 cities. Consumers in the middle tier cities also demonstrate a greater willingness to purchase more premium products,” said Yuan.

Consumer confidence in Australia (89) and Malaysia (92) declined six index points in the first quarter, reveals the survey.

“In Australia, a number of large manufacturers announced cost cutting efforts, job cuts and off-shoring of manufacturing facilities in the first quarter, which has likely impacted Australians’ overall confidence levels in the country’s economic outlook,” says Chris Percy, MD, Nielsen Pacific.


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