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Consumers spending less to save on income, survey finds

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians are increasingly changing the way they spend to save on their household income, an online consumer survey shows.

Nevertheless, Malaysia maintained its position as the 10th most confident country among 56 countries covered in the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey for the fourth quarter of last year.

The survey, carried out between Nov 23 and Dec 9, tracked consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 28,000 Internet consumers, including 500 respondents in Malaysia.

Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. Malaysia hovered at an index of 101.

The survey showed 85% of the Malaysian respondents had changed their spending patterns to save on their household income.

This was a rise of 6% over the figures of the previous quarter.

Ten per cent of the people surveyed said the coming 12 months would be a bad time to buy items they want and need, an increase of 3% over the third quarter.

The majority (58%) said they spent less on new clothes, followed by cutting down on out-of-home entertainment (56%), switching to cheaper grocery brands (53%) and cutting down on telephone expenses (54%) to manage their spending in the last quarter of last year.

“Despite the announcement in November last year of higher than expected third quarter GDP growth of 5.8% (market estimation of 4.8%), online consumers are uncertain that the jump in both public expenses, private consumption and future contribution under the Economic Transformation Programme would be able to fully offset the bearish external conditions,” said Nielsen Malaysia managing director Kow Kuan Hua.

The Nielsen findings also showed Malaysia maintaining its seventh place among the 56 countries in the top 10 most optimistic job prospects list, with 64% online respondents rating their job prospects as excellent or good over the next 12 months.

Source: The Star, 9 February 2012 

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