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Filipinos are one of the most optimistic consumers

High confidence levels continue to sweep across Southeast Asian consumers.
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With the Philippines continuing to display economic resilience and on-going growth, Filipino consumers remain as one of the world’s most optimistic and show growing focus on saving for the future, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index released by information and insights company, Nielsen.

The Nielsen survey of consumer confidence and spending intentions reveals that the Philippines recorded a three point increase with an index of 121, making it home to the world’s second most confident consumers. This is the highest consumer confidence index for the Philippines since the fourth quarter of 2010 when the index was reported at 120. For this quarter, the Philippines follows Indonesia which has an index of 124 in Q2 2013 (up two points on the previous quarter and a massive 30 points above the global average of 94). Thailand and Malaysia are also featured among the world’s most optimistic nations despite recording slight declines.

“The high confidence levels continue to sweep across Southeast Asian consumers compared to the rest of the world,” said Stuart Jamieson, managing director, Nielsen Philippines. “Similar to its neighbors in Southeast Asia, foreign investments are coming in and a growing number of consumers are entering the middle class in the Philippines, driving the positive outlook we are observing.”

Filipino respondents also feel the most positive about local job prospects over the next 12 months with 77 percent saying that local job prospects are good. This makes Filipino consumers the most optimistic in the world on local job prospects followed by Indonesia (75 percent) and India (72 percent).

Filipino consumer perception of personal finances for the year ahead has remained relatively stable over the past four quarters, reflecting the general perception across Southeast Asia. Filipinos at 79 percent follow Indonesians, who have the most optimistic view on their financial position with 84 percent saying their personal finances were good/excellent – the highest in the world for Q2 2013 and 30 points above the global benchmark of 54.

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More than half or 51 percent of Filipino respondents indicated that spending on items wanted or needed over the next 12 months would be good/excellent. While Filipino respondents show a great readiness to spend, still seven out of 10 are saving their spare cash, making them among the world’s biggest savers. Filipinos join an all-Asian list of the top 10 savers in the world. Indonesians top the list with 71 percent of respondents who said that they save after covering essential items. Rounding up the list are respondents from Hong Kong (70 percent), Vietnam (68 percent), Thailand (63 percent), China, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia (61 percent) and Singapore (60 percent).

Nineteen percent of Filipino respondents also said they utilize their spare cash to invest in shares and mutual funds, at par with the global average.  Compared to their Southeast Asian peers, Filipinos are behind Indonesians who are well above the global average at 33 percent, Malaysia (30 percent), India (25 percent), Singapore and Thailand (24 percent).

“Despite the general optimism that Filipinos are feeling they are still protecting themselves against future fluctuations in the global economy and other external factors. The increase in disposal income gives them opportunities to consider augmenting their savings and investing in mutual funds,” commented Jamieson.

Aside from saving, new technology also holds strong appeal for Filipino consumers around a third of Filipino consumers (31 percent) are spending their spare cash on new technology products along with Thais (34 pecent), Vietnamese (32 percent), Indonesians (31 percent).

Filipinos at 83 percent are among three consumers (Vietnamese, 88 percent and Thai, 87 percent) in Southeast Asia who have changed their spending to save on household expenses over the past year. The three key areas where consumers have made a conscious effort to reduce spending include: new clothes, out-of-home entertainment, and their gas and electricity usage.

Jamieson concluded: “The decision on Filipino consumers on how they will spend their cash will remain to be strongly influenced by caution as financial security continues to be a high priority.”

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