Consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific increased in nine of 14 markets in the first quarter of 2015, compared to only three that rose in the fourth-quarter 2014, according to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.
The nine markets also remained at or above the 100-baseline level of optimism. India, whose confidence level has been on the rise for six consecutive quarters, had the highest index score in the region of 130, a one-point increase from the previous quarter and a level that has not been reached since 2011.
“The urban Indian consumer started the year with positive sentiment in anticipation of improvement through reforms and stimulus announced by the new government,” said Piyush Mathur, president, Nielsen India Region.
“These initial signs of optimism reflect anticipation of economic recovery that are yet to manifest when you look at fast-moving consumer goods and auto sectors in particular over the last few quarters. Moreover, infrastructure, engineering and other industrial sectors are yet to gather pace. The fall in inflation is expected to have an impact on disposable income over time, but it will take time for the sectors to be restored to perceptible and sustainable growth,” he added.
Big index increases were also reported in Taiwan, where confidence rose 11 points to 88 —the highest score since 2011 — and in Japan, which rose nine points to 88, the highest score for the country recorded by Nielsen since 2005.
“Taiwan showed a strong rebound at the start of this year after a decline in fourth-quarter 2014,” said Andy Huang, managing director, Nielsen Taiwan. “The rise in confidence sentiment was driven by a strong improvement in the outlook for jobs, which increased 16 percentage points from fourth-quarter 2014.
“Perceptions about personal finances and a willingness to spend also improved nine and 10 percentage points, respectively. Preliminary GDP forecasts, a falling unemployment rate and a stabilizing consumer price index were other positive indicators at the start of 2015, which likely contributed to increased optimism among Taiwanese consumers,” he added.
Vietnam and Malaysia likewise reported strong confidence boosts of six and five points, respectively, in the first quarter. Vietnam’s rise to a score of 112 is the third consecutive increase and the country’s highest score since 2010. Conversely, China’s index fell one point to 106 in the first quarter, which comes after a four-point decline in fourth-quarter 2014.
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.