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More S'pore consumers worried about job prospects, saving more: Survey

While consumer confidence remains fairly constant compared with results in the past three years, the slight dip in the second quarter of 2014 is in line with more cautious attitudes in several South-East Asian markets, according to Nielsen.

SINGAPORE: Consumer confidence in Singapore remains fairly constant in the second quarter of 2014, with a slight dip driven by an increase in consumers who feel worried about their future job prospects.

This is according to the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending released on Tuesday (July 22), where consumer confidence levels are measured above and below a baseline of 100 to indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism respectively. Singapore’s consumer confidence stands at 98 index points in the second quarter – one point lower than the first quarter.

This is driven by a three-point increase in the number of consumers concerned about job prospects, according to Nielsen. The most recent data signals a “continuing conservatism when it comes to spending and managing expenses”, said Mr Luca Griseri, Nielsen’s Head of Financial Services in Singapore and Malaysia. 

Consistent with these cautious confidence levels, almost 67 per cent of respondents in Singapore channel their spare cash into savings after covering essential living expenses - an increase of four per cent from the previous quarter. It is also considerably higher than the global average of 48 per cent.  

About 58 per cent of Singapore consumers surveyed have also changed their spending habits to save on household expenses. The top five areas where they expect to continue cutting back on are: 

  • Gas and electricity (35 per cent)
  • New clothes (28 per cent)
  • Grocery brands (25 per cent)
  • Out-of-home entertainment (22 per cent)
  • Take-away meals (20 per cent)

“Consumers in Singapore continue to cushion their household accounts and ensure that a solid portion of their gains are tucked away for tomorrow,” said Mr Griseri.

This is in line with consumer confidence across a number of South-East Asia markets, which has taken a minor dip in the latest quarter in the face of escalating political instability around the region and rising food prices. Four of the six South-East Asia markets covered in the survey showed confidence levels declining compared to last quarter, the report stated.

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