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Philippines Leads in Optimism in Southeast Asia

July 28, 2015

Manila, July 27, 2015– Filipino consumers are the most confident in Southeast Asia and show the second highest optimism globally in the second quarter with an index score of 122, surpassing the global consumer confidence score of 96 points, according to the Nielsen’s second quarter Consumer Confidence Index released today.

The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries[1]. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

While confidence levels in Southeast Asia remain relatively high, the Philippines was the only market where consumer sentiment increased in the past quarter, gaining seven points to rise to a score of 122—the country’s highest level on record.  In contrast, Vietnam (104) reported Southeast Asia’s biggest quarterly decline in confidence (down 8 points) followed by Malaysia (89), which dropped five points from the first quarter. (See Chart 1). Despite the declines, the Philippines, Indonesia (120), Thailand (111) and Vietnam remain among the top 10 most optimistic markets globally.

“An upsurge of revenues from the strong business process outsourcing industry, an upswing in the construction sector, and strong consumption spending levels are fuelling growth in the country,” said Stuart Jamieson, managing director, Nielsen Philippines. “Fast-moving consumer goods sales are up 9.8% Jan-May 2015 from last year, with growth across all retail channels.”

Consumers in the Philippines likewise expressed optimism in local job prospects (75%, up two percentage points from the previous quarter) and their personal finances (81%, +4 percentage points from Q1) in the next 12 months, the only market in Southeast Asia to show improvement in confidence levels.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE IS TOP CONCERN

While across the region consumers continue to flag the state of the economy as one of their major concerns over the coming six month, Filipino consumers rank work/life balance as their top concern followed by job security. (See Chart 2).

BIG ON SAVING

Filipino consumers along with their Southeast Asian counterparts continue to be among the world’s most conscientious savers. Consumers in Vietnam are the biggest savers globally (73%), consumers from the Philippines (72%) and Indonesia (69%) rank second and third and those from Singapore and Thailand (66%) tie in fifth place while consumers from Malaysia take the sixth spot globally.

While Filipino consumers remain conscientious toward securing their finances, 34% (+7 from Q1) revealed that after covering essential living expenses, they will spend on holidays, while 29% (+2 from Q1) will use spare cash on home improvements and 13% (+1) on out-of-home entertainment.

(See Chart 3).

“With an increasingly buoyant consumer confidence, consumer spending continues to get momentum, including discretionary spending particularly on vacations and out-of-home entertainment,” Jamieson concluded.

Chart 1: Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index, Southeast Asia, 2015

chart-1

Source: Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, Q2 2015

Chart 2: Top concerns over the next six months, Southeast Asia, Q2 2015

chart-2

Source: Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, Q2 2015

Chart 3: Top areas consumers are spending their spare cash, Southeast Asia, Q2 201

chart-3

Source: Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, Q2 2015

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