Singapore consumers concerned about finances: Poll

According to the Nielsen survey, 26 per cent of consumers here wanted to switch to cheaper grocery brands.
According to the Nielsen survey, 26 per cent of consumers here wanted to switch to cheaper grocery brands.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Consumers here are concerned about their personal finances and are looking to cut back on household expenses in the coming months.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, released yesterday, showed that only one in two consumers here had a positive financial outlook in the second quarter of this year.

This was down slightly from 54 per cent in the first quarter.

The consumers surveyed here were less optimistic about their personal finances than their counterparts in most other countries in South-east Asia. They scored four percentage points below the global average of 54 per cent.

The research also showed that 32 per cent of consumers surveyed here hoped to save on utilities, while 31 per cent said they would spend less on new clothes.

Another 27 per cent intend to cut down on non-home entertainment, while 26 per cent wanted to switch to cheaper grocery brands.

The survey measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents in 58 countries. The survey had 502 respondents in Singapore.

Consumer confidence levels here remained stable throughout the first half of the year, the survey found - with an index score of 95, consumer confidence remained unchanged from the same period last year, when the index was at 94 points. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Mr Luca Griseri, Nielsen Singapore and Malaysia's head of financial services, said the results tie in with the moderate economic growth Singapore recorded in the first quarter of this year.

The Nielsen survey also found economic uncertainty is highest among lower income groups.

Survey respondents earning between $25,000 and $30,000 a year recorded a Consumer Confidence Index of 81 - 14 points below the Singapore average.

Only 15 per cent said now is a good time to buy the things they want and need - 21 percentage points lower than the Singapore average of 36 per cent.

In comparison, those earning more than $125,000 a year scored 105 on the index, 10 points higher than the Singapore average.

Almost half - 49 per cent - said now is a good time to buy the things they want and need.

"These findings remind us that a sizeable proportion of the population is concerned about increasing food and fuel prices and does not share the same sense of optimism in their economic outlook as those on higher incomes," said Mr Griseri.

chiaym@sph.com.sg