According to the Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with Nielsen, the Singapore consumer confidence index (CCI) has softened in Q1 2019 to 92 (vs 96 points in Q4 2018, and 97 points in Q1 2018). This survey measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions around the world.
The CCI is driven by consumers’ perception on local job prospects, personal finances and intentions/readiness to spend. For Singaporeans, there was a general decrease across all three indicators throughout the quarters in 2018, up till Q1 2019:
51% believe the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months will be excellent or good (vs 53% in Q4 2018, 57% in Q1 2018).
45% have a positive view on job prospects in the next 12 months (vs 48% in Q4 2018, 49% in Q1 2018).
40% said “now is the time to buy the things they want and need” (vs 43% in Q4 2018, 40% in Q1 2018).
JOB PROSPECTS AND ECONOMY REMAIN KEY CONCERNS WHILE RISING FOOD PRICES HAVE SURFACED
While most (64%) Singaporeans still remained positive on the economy, job security (30% in Q1 2019 versus 29% in Q4 2018) and economy (30% versus 27%) remain as main concerns. This coincides with the overall unemployment rate in the country that grew slightly to 3.2% in Q1 2019, as compared to 3.1% in Q4 2018.
Increased food prices is the highest growing concern (24% versus 18%), revealing Singaporeans’ anxiety over the need to spend on daily necessities that are inevitably getting more expensive. Other factors that contribute to increased quality of life, like health (23% versus 19%) and work-life balance (18% versus 20%) also remain significant concerns.
SINGAPOREANS HOLDING BACK IN DISCRETIONARY SPENDING
Singaporeans exhibited increased prudence in spending in the first quarter of 2019. There were quarter-on-quarter decreases in personal spending on items such as new technology products (down 7% vs Q4 2018), home improvements/decorations (down 4%), and out-of-home entertainment (down 4%).
At the same time, Singaporeans placed an increased emphasis on savings and investments during this period. Saving up or investing for potentially difficult days in the future evidently provides a sense of assurance and comfort, where three in five Singaporeans (66%, up 4% vs Q4 2018) invested in their savings account, while one in three (34%, up 3%) in shares of stock/mutual funds. With an aging population that is projected to increase in proportion, retirement protection also becomes a growing concern to many, where 32% (up 4%) chose to put money into their retirement fund to enhance sustainable living.
Interestingly, half of Singaporeans (51% vs 48% in Q4 2018) still chose to spend their spare cash on holidays and vacations. Evidently, Singaporeans are avid travelling bugs.
The Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with Nielsen, measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 32,000 respondents with Internet access in 64 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
Download The Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Report here.