Vietnamese consumer confidence recovering, Nielsen survey finds

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  A clothes shop at a shopping center in Hanoi. Though Vietnam's consumer confidence has picked up, consumers are curbing household expenses to save for the future. Sixty two percent of Vietnamese respondents said they would reduce spending on new clothes. Photo by Giao Duc Vietnam

Consumer confidence rose to the year's highest level in the third quarter, with more consumers feeling certain about job prospects and personal finances, a Nielsen survey has found.

The Vietnam consumer confidence index inched up 2 points to 97, 3 points above the global average of 94, the information and measurement company said Thursday. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Forty-seven of Vietnamese respondents felt "good" or "excellent" about their job prospects in the next 12 months, up 5 points from the previous quarter. This number, though, was lower than the regional benchmark of 60 percent.

One in two respondents (50 percent) showed confidence in the financial outlook, up 2 points from the previous quarter.

The Southeast Asian index continued to rank among the highest globally in the third quarter despite having leveled out, while consumers indicated they were focusing more on saving for the future and reprioritizing their discretionary spending to save on household expenses.

By country, Indonesia reported the highest index score globally of 120, followed by the Philippines (118).

Southeast Asians continue to rank among the world's biggest savers, and channeling excess funds into savings was the top choice for them after covering essential living expenses.

In Indonesia, more than three in four consumers are saving their spare cash in the third quarter (up 5 percentage points from the previous quarter to 76 percent), followed by Vietnam (up 4 points to 72 percent).

Despite the leveling of confidence, consumers still indicated they were prepared to channel a portion of their spare cash into holidays, new technology, and investing in shares and stocks.

Up to nine in 10 Southeast Asian consumers said they changed their spending to save on household expenses over the last year.

Consumers in Thailand and Vietnam showed the strongest inclination to curb household expenses (90 percent), the highest level recorded globally in the Nielsen survey.

Areas where consumers indicated they would look to cut back to save on household expenses included fashion and on out-of-home entertainment.

Consumers in Vietnam were the most likely to reduce their spending on new clothes (62 percent), followed by Malaysia (61 percent) and the Philippines (61 percent), while Vietnamese consumers also indicated the strongest inclination to cut back on out-of-home entertainment (60 percent), followed by Thailand (57 percent).

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