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Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Remains Strong in Q2 2013

Strong Growth in Mainland Tourists, Retail Sales Generate High Consumer Confidence

Hong Kong – Consumer confidence index in Hong Kong remained at 107 in Q2 2013, just one point lower than Q1 2013, and an increase of three points from Q2 2012, according to consumer confidence findings from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

“The continuous strong and stable mainland tourist, together with a double-digit growth in local retail sales, made a positive impact on consumers’ optimism toward their state of spending intent in the last quarter,” said Eva Leung, managing director, Nielsen Hong Kong & Macau. “Also, a stable and low unemployment rate generates a more positive attitude toward the outlook on job prospects, which in the end stimulates consumers to spend more in Q2.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries. The latest round of the survey was conducted between May 13 and May 31, 2013. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. Sample size for Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Index is 502, compiling from a mixed methodology survey.

Drivers of Consumer Confidence

At 107 points this quarter, Hong Kong consumer confidence slightly decreased one index point comparing to Q1. It remained high compared to other places such as Singapore (95) and Taiwan (75), but lower than China (110). The global average of consumer confidence level was 94.

According to Nielsen’s survey, Hong Kong consumers reported an increase in optimism for job prospects, which rose from 56 to 58 percent, and for spending intent, rising from 52 to 55 percent. The survey reflected that those saving spare cash decreased from 75 to 70 percent. More respondents reported an increase in buying new clothes with spare money, from 26 to 28 percent, which reflected the double-digit growth of retail sales in Q2. (Source: Census & Statistics Department, HKSAR)

What are consumers concerned about?

With a more stable global environment and low local unemployment rate, Hong Kong consumers’ concerns over the economy continue to decrease quarter-on-quarter, though it was still the top concern (17%). Instead, there is a growing concern on work/ life balance. “With a more optimistic economy and employment market, Hong Kong consumers pay more attention to health and after-work activities to enjoy life,” Leung commented.

Retail Environment in Hong Kong

As consumer confidence picked up in the second quarter of this year, retail sales in Hong Kong also remained strong with a 12.8 percent year-on-year growth. Overall, the influx of 3 million mainland tourists who visited Hong Kong in Q2 2013 continued to be a main driving force behind the strong retail sales. The volume of sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 35.6 percent over Q2 2012. This was followed by sales of commodities in department stores (+24.5% in volume); apparel (+12.8%); and commodities in supermarkets (+2.2%). (Source: “Report on Monthly Survey of Retail Sales – May 2013” by Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR)

How do consumers spend their spare cash?

According to the latest round of results, saving for rainy days continued to be the top priority for Hong Kong consumers, with three-quarters (70%) claiming to put their spare cash into savings. This is followed by out-of-home entertainment (42%) and investing in shares of stock/mutual funds (41%).

As a comparison, respondents in Asia-Pacific also saved the most, compared to respondents in other regions, with 61 percent putting money into savings accounts and one-third (32%) investing in shares of stocks and mutual funds.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between May 13-31, 2013, and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers, and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60-percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.