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Consumer confidence in Southeast Asia is increasing

Consumer confidence continues to grow in Southeast Asian countries as their economies rebound from the global recession. The Consumer Confidence Index, as measured by InsightAsia Research Group, rose in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Confidence in China dropped after the abundant optimism in the second quarter that was fuelled by large government support, but Chinese consumers are still confident in their economy.

InsightAsia, one of Asia Pacific’s leading market research groups — specializing in quantitative, qualitative research, brand development, business analytics and consultancy — surveys 9,200 people across five Asian countries on a yearly basis to produce The Asian Consumer Confidence Index.

Confidence in economic conditions increased particularly sharply in Singapore. In the first quarter Singapore had the lowest score of all countries in the survey at 62, as predictions were particularly pessimistic for the city state with an open economy. However continuing signs of recovery have led to strong increases of consumer confidence in the second and third quarter. Singapore boosted its index with 22 points in the third quarter, from 88 to 110.

Consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand also became more confident, albeit with more modest increases than Singapore. Indonesian consumers are slightly negative about current economic conditions, but their growing optimism about the future pushed the index up from 97 to 105. The Consumer Confidence Index of Malaysia showed only a marginal improvement from 94 to 96. Thailand was not only impacted by the global recession, but has also been disrupted by political unrest in the latter part of 2008 and the first months of 2009. Consumer confidence in Thailand is now slowly catching up with Indonesia and Malaysia, as the index grew from 78 to 88, but political stability is a requirement for further growth.

China is the only country that registered a decrease. Chinese consumers were very optimistic in the second quarter, following a very strong governmental economic support policy and improved bank loan conditions. The high Consumer Confidence Index of 123 in June was corrected to 111 in September. The Chinese economy is still strong, but a decreased stock market index and the announcement of lower government support have curbed Chinese consumer confidence somewhat.

The Asian Consumer Confidence Index by InsightAsia demonstrates that while Asia continues its recovery from the global recession, consumers become more optimistic about the future. Economic forecasts have become rosier, media reports have taken a more positive tone and consumers have adjusted their views. As a result the Consumer Confidence Index grew in Indonesia, Thailand and particularly Singapore. Though Chinese consumers came to realize that their optimism in the second quarter was somewhat too strong, their mindset is still positive.

Asian economies have been the first to bounce back after the financial crisis and are pulling other economies up with them. As the economies of the United States and Europe are still struggling, further recovery of Asian markets is of importance on a global level. Therefore the positive trend of consumer confidence in Asia is encouraging news for the global economy.

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(Source: InsightAsia Research Group)