The Straits Times, S'pore consumer confidence is up, Saturday, by vei21189


									The Straits Times, S’pore consumer confidence is up, Saturday, 4 February
2006, pg. H11

ACNielsen study shows mood is upbeat compared to May last year

By Marcel Lee Pereira

SINGAPOREANS are more upbeat about the economy, job prospects and their
personal financial situation compared to May last year, a study by research firm
ACNielsen in November found.

Job security and the economy remain two of their biggest concerns, although
sentiments have improved since a similar study six months earlier.

Singaporeans are also more anxious about terrorism and health issues compared to
May last year.

The twice-yearly global online survey, which polled more than 23,500 regular Internet
users in 42 markets, aims to gauge consumers’ confidence levels, spending habits
and major concerns.

Based on confidence in the economy, job prospects and their personal financial
situation, Singapore’s consumer confidence index rose by four points since the
previous survey in May last year to 103.

That is five points more than the global average of 98, which rose by six points since
last May following increasing consumer confidence worldwide, said ACNielsen in a
statement yesterday.

The most optimistic consumers are from the Asia-Pacific region and North American,
with India topping the list with 132 points. Singapore lagged behind Indonesia, Hong
Kong and Malaysia.

“This goes to show it takes time for consumer perceptions, attitudes and confidence
to change,” said the managing director of ACNielsen Research Singapore, Mr Ashok

“Positive economic growth of 5.7 per cent in 2005… has painted a more optimistic
outlook for this year and helped raise consumer sentiments,” he added.

About seven in 10 Singaporeans are optimistic about job prospects over the next 12
months, up from six in 10 in May last year.

Mr Charan said optimistic consumer sentiments on the job front correspond with the
recent drop in unemployment to 2.5 per cent.

Singaporeans are also among the top three savers in Asia-Pacific, with close to three
in five Singaporeans saying they will save their spare cash.

Nearly half said they will spend their money on holidays, and three in 10 said next on
their priority list is paying off debts such as credit card bills and loans.

Said Institute of Policy Studies senior research fellow Gillian Koh: “The concerns of
Singaporeans are still about jobs and job security, and cost of living issues.
“If there’s any fat, they go on holidays. But really most are saving for a rainy day as
well as paying off their debts, so it’s likely disposable income is quite low.

“So consumer confidence locally is not as buoyant yet.”

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