Filipinos found most optimistic in the world

FILIPINOS have become the most optimistic consumers in the world, beating those of other countries for the first time in a survey conducted during the May 9 national elections and the immediate aftermath that measured perceptions of job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending plans, among others.

Results of the quarterly Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions showed Filipino consumers' optimism score soared by 13 points to 132, recording the biggest quarter-on-quarter increase among 63 countries covered by the study and beating a 98 global average.

Performance management company Nielsen Holdings plc released on Tuesday results of an online survey that was conducted on May 9-27.

"Confidence in the Philippines is at an all-time high, and with a 6.9% GDP [gross domestic product] growth rate in the first quarter, it's one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia," said Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen Philippines, in a statement.

Nielsen said that of the confidence indicators measured, job optimism climbed the most at 16 points to 88% of responses from the Philippines. Immediate-spending intentions increased by 10 points to 61%, while favorable sentiment about personal finances jumped five points to 86%.

"The Philippine economy relies heavily upon consumption, and with sales of consumer goods growing rapidly at a 7.1% rate in the year ending May 2016, consumer spending remains robust. The promise of greater reforms during the recent presidential elections, which took place during the survey period, likely helped buoy positive consumer sentiment," Mr. Jamieson said.

The same survey showed Filipino consumers remaining among the world's most ardent savers, with 65% of respondents saying they will save their spare cash. Of those who saved, three in 10 said they planned to spend their spare cash on holidays and vacations, up a percentage point to 33%.

The other savers said they would spend for home improvements or decorations, up three points to 32%, and new technology, also up three points to 29%.

The Nielsen consumer confidence survey, which began in 2005, sets consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 as indicating degrees of optimism and pessimism, respectively.

Nielsen said India followed the Philippines as the market with the second most confident consumers, with a score of 128, but down by six points from the first quarter. Indonesia posted a two-point increase quarter-on-quarter to 119.

In the United States, consumer confidence kept a positive momentum, Nielsen said, pointing to a three-point increase to 113 from the previous quarter.

Denmark's score increased seven points to 112, recovering from the five-point decline in the first quarter.

Among emerging Asian markets, Vietnam, China and Thailand scored high at 107, 106 and 101, respectively.

"Malaysia was the only emerging market in the region with a below-the-baseline confidence score of 87, but that score represented an eight point increase in the second quarter," Nielsen noted.

"While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration is still growing, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country," Nielsen qualified.

"Cultural differences in reporting sentiment are likely factors in the measurement of economic outlook across countries. The reported results do not attempt to control or correct for these differences; therefore, caution should be exercised when comparing across countries and regions, particularly across regional boundaries."

Source: Business World Online