S'pore consumer sentiment beats global average

S'pore consumer sentiment beats global average

Consumer confidence in Singapore reached its highest mark in more than a year in the third quarter, but remained subdued, a survey by Nielsen showed.

Singapore's Consumer Confidence Index rose four points from the second quarter to 98 points, the Nielsen poll showed. This was the highest since the second quarter of 2011, when it registered a reading of 103 points.

However, the figure was below the benchmark 100-point threshold. A reading above 100 reflects a positive spending sentiment, while a reading below that reflects pessimism.

That said, Singapore did better than the global average of 92 points, bogged down mainly by pessimism among European consumers amid the continuing eurozone crisis.

"Singaporeans are feeling more positive, particularly where their personal finances are concerned, and accordingly they are showing signs that they will start to spend on things they want and need," said Joan Koh, managing director at Nielsen Singapore and Malaysia.

The survey noted that 57 per cent of the 512 respondents here viewed the state of their finances over the next year as "good" or "excellent", up from half in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, 36 per cent of Singaporeans felt the next 12 months would be a good time to buy what they need or want, up from 30 per cent in Q2.

But Singaporeans remain cautious about their spending.

"The continuing uncertainties over global economic recovery are prompting consumers to play it safe and continue to save on household expenses," Ms Koh said.

The economy and job security were the two biggest concerns for consumers here over the next six months, the survey showed.

Accordingly, 64 per cent of Singaporeans plan to save extra cash that they have.

There was also greater appetite for investment.

Close to a third of respondents plan to put money in stocks and mutual funds, 7 per cent higher than the previous quarter.

"This indicates a desire to seek ways to preserve and grow their wealth," Ms Koh said.

Overall, Singapore placed 15th out of the 58 economies surveyed. India had the most optimistic consumers, with a reading of 119. The most pessimistic was Hungary, which registered a reading of 37.

The Asia-Pacific region continued to have the most optimistic consumers in the world. Singapore ranked eighth among this group of 14 countries, trailing Asean neighbours such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, but doing better than the likes of Hong Kong and South Korea.

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