Malaysia ranks 36th in consumer confidence - Nielsen

  • Economy
  • Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016

No Plastic day.....Nur Adilah Zujlkafli 18 (left) and her friend Noranishanani Zahari choosing a large plastic bag suitable for filling goods that are bought from shops.State of Goverment have banned the usage of plastic bag in Melaka since 1 January 2016. ( STAND ALONE PIX ) A MALEX YAHAYA / MELAKA.

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the subdued consumer confidence, Malaysia rose in ranking in the fourth quarter of last year to be the 36th most confident country, according to a global online consumer poll.

Malaysia, with 80 percentage points (pp), climbed seven spots from the preceding quarter based on the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions which covered 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries.

However, Malaysia and Singapore (falling seven points to 94 pp) are the only two countries scoring below 100 pp out of the six South-East Asian nations polled.

The average global consumer confidence was 99 pp, down 2 points versus the preceding quarter. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
In the third quarter of last year, Malaysian consumer confidence fell to an all-time low (since Nielsen began the survey in 2005) of 78 pp. It rose a marginal 2 points in the following quarter.

“Consumer confidence has remained at what was the all-time low recorded in Q3 with just a small gain in Q4,” said Richard Hall, Nielsen Malaysia’s country manager.

“This is not a surprise as nothing has really changed in terms of the economic or political environment with oil prices continuing to drop, the ringgit remained at its weak position and concerns surrounding job security continued to simmer.” 

Although the economy remained Malaysian consumers’ key concern with half of the respondents being worried about the nation’s financial status (50% versus 61% in the previous quarter), about a quarter of the respondents said job security was now the second most worrying (25%, an increase from 18% in last quarter).

Consumers’ concern about political stability - which was the second biggest concern in Q3 - fell drastically by half to 17 pp in Q4.

In Q4, recessionary sentiments still gripped over eight in 10 Malaysian consumers who felt that the nation was still in a state of economic slump (84%) while only one in five felt optimistic that the country would be out of an economic recession in the next 12 months (22%, unchanged from previous quarter).

“Despite Government and financial institutions reassurances that the economy is in good shape and resilient, there is an underlying uneasiness with consumers and this sentiment is unfortunately transferring to their everyday spending habits.” said Hall.

Malaysians are in ninth place globally in terms of being the world’s most avid savers, with 63% putting spare cash into savings. On average, less than half of global consumers prioritise saving spare cash (49%).

Malaysian consumers continue to be prudent about their spending habits. Over eight in 10 Malaysian consumers (84%) have changed their spending habits in the last 12 months to save on household expenses, the Nielsen survey found.

Hall said there were still lingering effects from the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) in consumers’ minds where they believed that the impact of GST was far greater on their spending power than the inflation data suggested. 

“This effect will lessen this year and we believe that the effect will be fully out of the system by the middle of the year.” he opined.



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