|Nielsen said Viet Nam had become the ninth most optimistic country globally, with an index score of 106, an increase of four points compared to the previous quarter. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Quyet
HCM CITY (VNS) — Vietnamese consumer confidence continued to see rapid improvement in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index released by Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.
Nielsen said Viet Nam had become the ninth most optimistic country globally, with an index score of 106, an increase of four points compared to the previous quarter.
Vaughan Ryan, managing director of Nielsen Viet Nam, said over the last two quarters there was a significant increase in the confidence of consumers in Viet Nam.
People are feeling better about their job prospects and about their personal finances, and more people are feeling optimistic about the future.
More consumers are considering spending again on holidays, clothes and new technology, which are all good signs for the economy.
The report also reveals that consumers in Southeast Asia are among the most confident globally.
By gaining 120 points, consumers in Indonesia and Philippines still remain the second most confident globally and the rise in the Philippines was one of the largest quarterly increases globally, an increase of five points per last quarter.
Consumer confidence levels in Viet Nam as well as Singapore (100 points) also remains relatively strong.
Similar to the previous quarter, the current state of the economy remains a key concern for consumers.
Close to one in five consumers in the region (18 per cent) cited the economy as their biggest concern over the next six months.
Consumers in Thailand (49 per cent) and Malaysia (38 per cent) are the most concerned globally while about a third of consumers in Indonesia (33 per cent) and Viet Nam (28 per cent) share the same concern. This is compared to 25 per cent of consumers globally.
Job security ranks as the second biggest concern for consumers in Southeast Asia (14 per cent), particularly in Singapore (28 per cent), Thailand (28 per cent) and Viet Nam (27per cent). Other major worries in the region include work/life balance, health and increasing fuel prices.
Savings still priority
Overall, Southeast Asian consumers are among the world's most avid savers, with more than two-thirds (69 per cent) channeling their spare cash into savings, compared to just 48 per cent globally.
When it comes to savings, consumers in Viet Nam are the highest globally (77 per cent), and Indonesia ranks third globally (70 per cent).
"These latest findings show consumers in Southeast Asia are conscientiously planning their financial future," Bali said.
"With disposable income becoming more readily available than ever before, consumers across the region have the means to invest their spare cash and strengthen savings, which is driving greater demand for banking and financial services."
The Nielsen survey also indicates that at least eight in 10 consumers in Thailand (88 per cent), Viet Nam (86 per cent), Malaysia (85 per cent), Indonesia (80 per cent) and the Philippines (80 per cent) have adjusted their spending habits over the past 12 months in a bid to curb household spending due to concerns about economic recession.
More than six in 10 consumers in Malaysia (65 per cent) and the Philippines (62 per cent) are spending less on new clothing, while 60 per cent of Vietnamese and 56 per cent of Thais and Malaysians have cut down on out-of-home entertainment in an effort to reduce household expenses.
Other areas where consumers are cutting back include delaying upgrades of technology, switching to cheaper grocery brands, saving on gas and electricity usage and reducing holidays and short breaks.
"While consumer confidence is relatively stable across Southeast Asia, consumers are expressing concern around areas such as job security and economic health, and as a result they are cautious with their spending," said Bali. — VNS