MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- Super typhoon "Yolanda" may have dampened consumer sentiment in the fourth quarter, but Filipino consumers remain the second most optimistic in Southeast Asia, according to the latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index.
The Philippines' consumer confidence index stood at 114 in the fourth quarter, slipping four points from the previous quarter as Yolanda devastated parts of central Philippines in November. The Nielsen global survey of consumer confidence and spending intentions was conducted between November 11-29, 2013.
Indonesia remained the most optimistic in Southeast Asia with an index of 124. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
"As expected the sentiment of Filipino consumers went down as a result of the devastation of typhoon Yolanda. As a consequence, they are examining their personal finances closely and are becoming more cautiously optimistic and dynamic in their choices around spending and saving,” said Stuart Jamieson, managing director of Nielsen Philippines.
Filipino respondents' perception of personal finances also slipped slightly in the fourth quarter. The survey showed 76% of respondents perceived their personal finances to be good or excellent in the fourth quarter, down 1 point from the previous quarter.
The survey also showed 68% of Filipino respondents save their excess cash in the fourth quarter, up 1 point from the previous quarter.
Nielsen noted Filipino consumers are now among the world’s top 10 biggest savers, which includes Vietnam (74%), Indonesia (72%), Hong Kong (71%), Taiwan (67%), Thailand (66%), Singapore (64%), Malaysia (63%), India (62%) and Japan (62%).
"While tucking away a portion of their gains for tomorrow, there are consumers who remain open to experiencing and enjoying their hard earned cash,” Jamieson said.
The survey also showed 48% of Filipino respondents said they plan to spend their extra cash on vacations, 3 points higher than the previous quarter.
While Filipino consumers are optimistic, they are also keeping a close eye on their general household expenses. Nielsen said 85% of Filipino respondents said that they changed their spending to save on household expenses. This was a 5 point increase from the previous quarter.
Filipino respondents said they cut back on buying clothes and electronics, while at the same time saving on gas and electricity. They also switched to cheaper grocery brands and spent less on take-out meals.
"While consumers are optimistic about their future they remain cautious with their spending behavior... What we are seeing is a propensity to adapt quickly and decisively shift spending when required," Jamieson said.