|People shop at a Metro supermarket in central Khanh Hoa Province. The consumer confidence index improved and more Vietnamese people are optimistic about jobs. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam's consumer confidence index jumped to 96 in the first quarter, marking the highest index point over the past year.
The index for the first quarter was eight points higher than the previous quarter and two points higher than a year ago.
These information were disclosed by the latest Consumer Confidence Index report from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insight into what consumers watch and buy.
Meanwhile, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region continue to display high levels of optimism, the report said.
Across 14 Asia-Pacific countries, seven countries saw increases in consumer confidence compared to the previous quarter. Three remained static, while confidence fell marginally in the remaining four markets.
At least 33 per cent of online Vietnamese respondents said that the next 12-month period would be a good time to buy items.
This figure was 4 percent higher than the fourth quarter of last year and 7 percent higher than a year ago.
When it comes to how consumers use discretionary income, the dominant option in Viet Nam is "putting it into savings."
Seventy-one percent said they chose to save spare cash, an increase of 60 percent over the fourth quarter of last year.
The options have increased slightly, such as spending on home decorating (33 per cent), technology products (31 per cent) and new clothes (30 per cent).
Saving money is the highest priority for Asia-Pacific consumers, with 62 percent of respondents said they put away spare cash after covering essential purposes.
Therese Glennon, Nielsen's APMEA Regional Consumer Insights Leader, said that "Asia-Pacific consumers continue to gain optimism, yet remain quite discerning and frugal, and will continue to prioritize saving and investment."
The survey revealed that more Vietnamese people were optimistic about the job market in the first quarter.
The number of people who said they felt "good or excellent" about their job prospects rose from 34 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 39 per cent in the first quarter of 2013.
However, this was lower than a year ago (50 per cent), and was less optimistic than the regional average (61 per cent).
Asia-Pacific optimism for jobs remains high, as most countries experienced increases from the previous quarter, including Thailand (72 per cent), Malaysia (67 per cent), Singapore (50 per cent) and India (76 per cent).
Vietnamese optimism about personal finances increased by 9 points to 50 per cent when compared to the previous quarter. But this figure was still lower than the regional average of 62 per cent.
The biggest concern for Asia-Pacific consumers is the economy, with 16 per cent stating this was their largest worry.
"Work/life balance" came in second at 14 per cent and job security was a close third at 13 percent.
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. — VNS