PHOTO - Kow Kuan Hua - MD The Nielsen Company Malaysia.
KUALA LUMPUR, 1 JUNE 2011 - The latest consumer survey from market research firm The Nielsen Company shows that Malaysia is in fourth place globally for optimism about local job prospects though consumers seem less optimistic about the state of their personal finances.
The upward trend in consumer confidence in Malaysia stabilised to an index point of 105 in the first quarter of 2011, said The Nielsen Company Malaysia managing director, Kow Kuan Hua, speaking of the company's latest Global Consumer Confidence Index Survey. "This [105 index point] shows the first correction since the fourth quarter of 2009. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism."
Despite the slow down in overall confidence, Kow said that the country's online users see better job prospects despite the slow down in overall confidence. "Online consumers in Malaysia were generally more upbeat about their job prospects despite the slight change in consumer confidence. 72 per cent of online respondents described their job prospects as excellent or good over the next 12 months, compared to 70 per cent in the previous quarter. Across the Asia Pacific region, the average was 66 per cent."
"Malaysia also surged to the fourth place globally (up from 6th in quarter four of 2010) in terms of consumer optimism about their job prospects in the first quarter of 2011," he said. "The positive response mirrored the good news on Malaysian exports which hit a record of RM64.1 billion [US$21.05 billion] in March 2011, driven by the growth of shipments of goods including electrical and electronics as well as commodities (refined petroleum products and palm oil)."
Flat consumer confidence index and the ETP
"The relatively flat Consumer Confidence Index in Malaysia reflects consumers' lingering concerns about inflation and potential possible price increases, sentiments which are also shared by some other markets in the Asia-Pacific region such as Vietnam, China and New Zealand," said Kow.
"However, consumers are still spending, albeit a little more cautiously," he said. "Our analysis shows that sales of most FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) categories still posted positive growth rates in the first quarter of 2011, similar to those seen in 2010. Private consumption is also on an upward trend due to continued income growth and favourable labour market conditions, and the positive effects arising from these were seen in the country's first quarter GDP [gross domestic product] result."
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.