New Delhi: Indian consumers were the most confident in the world in terms of job prospects, personal finances and concerns in the first quarter of 2016 with their confidence index touching a nine-year high during the period, according to a study by global performance management company, Nielsen.
The Consumer Confidence Index score for India increased three index points in the first quarter to a score of 134, the highest for the country since 2007 and comes after three consecutive quarters at 131, Nielsen said in a statement.
However, despite the improvement in overall consumer sentiment, more than half of urban India (53 per cent) still feel that the country is in an economic recession at the moment, Nielsen said adding “this is 3 per cent more than what it was in the previous quarter”.
As per the study, India was followed by the Philippines with a score of 119 and Indonesia with 117 points although it was a mixed bag among the world’s largest economies.
While the score jumped 10 points to 110 in the US, China (105), Germany and UK (97) and Japan (73) showed quarter-on-quarter decline.
“Overall, global consumer confidence remained stable in the first quarter and below the optimism baseline score of 100, edging up one index point to 98. The score reflected mixed confidence levels in every region,” Nielsen said.
All three confidence indicators — job prospects, personal finances and concerns — increased from the previous quarter in India with job sentiment, personal finances and immediate spending intentions at consistently high levels.
In the latest online survey, fielded March 1-23, 2016, 83 per cent of urban Indian respondents indicated the highest level of optimism globally on job prospects – up by three index points since fourth quarter of 2015.
Similarly, there was optimism abound when it came to the state of personal finances with 85 per cent respondents stating the situation to be good or excellent (82 per cent in October-December of 2015), the study said.
Nielsen India Region Managing Director Roosevelt D’Souza said in the days following the Budget announcements about the government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, sustained and inclusive growth, an improvement in various macroeconomic indicators was evident.
“The government seems to be on its way to achieving its objectives of low inflation, low interest rates and high GDP growth-a scenario optimal for improved consumer spending,” he added.
The Nielsen Global Survey polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 63 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America.
Nielsen further said 66 per cent of respondents felt that the country would be out of an “economic recession” in the next twelve months.
“The recessionary sentiment is evident from the fact that ‘job security’ and ‘economy’ continue to be the top two concerns for Indians. While ‘global warming’ comes in at number three, ‘health’ has crept up one spot to number four,” the study said.
When it came to discretionary spending and savings, the study found that with 66 per cent, India continued to lead the charts when it comes to perceptions of whether it is a good or bad time to buy the things they want and need over the next 12 months.
“Saving for a rainy day continues to be the top choice when it comes to utilising spare cash after covering essential living expenses, with no change in the number of respondents who said they will put spare cash into savings (63 per cent),” Nielsen said.
This is followed by holidays/vacations (47 per cent) and buying new clothes (46 per cent) – more or less similar to the previous quarter, it added.