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Malaysian consumer confidence at highest level since 2006 [02-08-2011]  
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Malaysian consumer confidence rebounded in the second quarter (Q2) to hit the highest level since 2006, according to the latest Nielsen Global Online Survey.

Market research company Nielsen said in a statement that this was despite a 9-percentage point drop in online consumer confidence across the Asia-Pacific region.

Online consumer confidence in Malaysia rose 5 points quarter-on-quarter to an index of 110 in Q2. It said this was the highest level since the index reached 114 in Q3 2006.

Malaysia ranked 4th (along with the United Arab Emirates) among the 56 countries surveyed by Nielsen, an improvement from 12th spot a quarter ago.

India (126), the Philippines (115) and Indonesia (112) headed the worldwide list.

The Nielsen Global Online Survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, covered about 31,000 online consumers. In Malaysia, a sample of 500 consumers were polled.

Nielsen said that favourable labour market conditions prompted online consumers in Malaysia to be more confident on their job prospects.

Of the respondents, 77% described their job prospects as excellent or good over the next 12 months, up 5 percentage points quarter-on-quarter.

“As a result, Malaysia advanced to second place (fourth in Q1 2011) among the top 10 most optimistic countries (job prospects),” the company said.

This contrasted with the Asia-Pacific region overall, where consumer optimism with regards to job prospects fell 9 percentage points quarter-on-quarter to the average of 57%.

In terms of optimism towards their personal finances in the coming 12 months, Malaysia clinched 6th position. Two-thirds of the consumers surveyed online rated their state of personal finances as excellent or good compared with 60% in Q1.

“The confidence levels remain positive in line with the country's economic progress, supported by increases in both government spending and private sector investments under the Economic Transformation Programme, as well as the private consumption.

“We also saw a robust 9.3% increase in consumer spending year-on-year on retail fast-moving consumer goods categories (excluding cigarettes, beer and shandy) tracked by Nielsen in Q2,” said Nielsen Malaysia managing director Kow Kuan Hua.

The economy was the biggest concern for 18% of the respondents over the next six months, up four percentage points from Q1.

Increasing fuel prices was the biggest concern for 16% of the respondents, an increase from 9% in the preceding quarter.

As for the higher food prices, 13% of the respondents cited it as their biggest concern in Q2 compared with 12% in Q1.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported yesterday that consumers across the Asia-Pacific were concerned at the slow pace of global economic recovery, with a dip in optimism recorded over the last six months, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index TM of Consumer Confidence.

Malaysia's consumer sentiment remained positive though the index score fell slightly from six months earlier.

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