Consumer confidence in Singapore has sunk to a two-year low according to Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with global data firm Nielsen, as concerns swirl over job security and the economy.
In their report on Thursday (21 November), Nielsen said Singaporeans are most worried about health, work-life balance and increasing food prices as well.
In a poll of 500 people, the report found that 37% of respondents were concerned about the economy in the third quarter of 2019, up from 32% in the second quarter. Additionally, in this third quarter of the year, the number of people concerned about job security stayed level at 32%. Even so, about 34% said they were optimistic about job prospects, but that is a sharp decline from 42% just the previous quarter.
In terms of the broader economy, about 56% of respondents believe that Singapore is in a recession, again up 42% from the previous quarter.
This concern is not entirely unsupported as the latest data shows Singapore’s economic growth slowing to 0.1% in the third quarter, only narrowly avoiding a technical recession.
Given these concerns, it’s also no surprise that the respondents seem slightly less willing to spend this quarter than they did before with 37% saying they were willing to spend on wants and needs, compared to 38% in the second quarter.
There was also a 1% dip in people saying they would still spend on travel for their holidays, from 46% in the second quarter to 45% in the third quarter; and those who are willing to spend on new tech gadgets, from 17% to 16%. A bigger decline was the percentage of respondents willing to spend on new clothes, going from 22% to 19%.
The report also found that savings continue to be a top priority for consumers given economic uncertainties. About 62% said they would put their money into savings while 33% said they would invest in retirement funds.
About 28% said they would invest in shares or mutual funds, a slight increase from 27% in the previous quarter.
A year ago in the third quarter of 2018, consumer confidence was at 98%. A year before that in 2017, it was 89% – same as it is now in the third quarter of 2019. However, just before that in the second quarter of 2017, consumer confidence was at 86%.