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Malaysian Consumer Confidence Quarter 1, 2013

Total FMCG value growth sees month-on-month decline in February but rebounds in March.

38% of Malaysians perceive the next twelve months ahead will be a good time to buy what they need and want.

Consumer confidence in Malaysia rose four points to an index of 107 in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest global online consumer confidence findings from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

The index last hit its 107 level in the first quarter of 2012 (Chart 1). Malaysia maintained its ninth highest consumer confidence index score (ahead of Norway) among the countries measured. Indonesia (122), India (120), The Philippines (118) and are the top three most confident countries.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Nielsen 2 May 2013 1

“External economic sentiment showed signs of improvement in Q1 2013, the pick-up of the external demand, monetary policy and low inflation in the domestic market are several positive drivers for the upbeat attitude among Malaysians,” said Richard Hall, Managing Director, Nielsen Malaysia. “The expectation of economic stability and continued growth of the economy in the second half of 2013 has also fueled the strong 4 points gain in confidence towards local job prospects and the state of personal finances.”

Better job prospects and state of personal finances ahead 

68 percent of online consumers surveyed in Malaysia are optimistic about their job prospects over the next 12 months in which the percentage of respondents who rated their job prospects as excellent or good went up by five percent quarter-on-quarter (see Chart 2).

Nielsen 2 May 2013 2













Their confidence has helped Malaysia advance as the seventh most optimistic job prospects online consumer group among the 58 countries surveyed. The average figure was 62 percent across the Asia Pacific region.

The perceptions on the state of personal finances improved by two percentage points (10% described as excellent) to 64 percent from last quarter. As a result, Malaysia maintained its tenth highest ranking (along with Hong Kong) in terms of optimism towards personal finance among the countries measured (Chart 3).

Nielsen 2 May 2013 3













Close to two-fifths(38%) of the respondents stated that the coming 12 months will be a good time to purchase items they want and need, the optimism rose by six percentage points as compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase of confidence level is reflected in the movement of FMCG1 sales in the month of March with regards to domestic consumptions.

Consumers are more likely to spend 

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) movement tracked by Nielsen showed the gap of spending patterns between pre-Chinese New Year and before the closure of quarter one was relatively wide. (Month-on-month value growth: 2.0% in January, -8.0% in February, 6% in March).

Nine point two percent and one point nine percent growth in the Beverage and Household Category have contributed to the positive growth of pre-Chinese New Year shopping in January with 34 categories registering positive growth. On the other hand, March value sales actually built up to reach a notable six percent growth month-on-month with 37 categories recording double digit growth.

“Due to the seasonality factors, post-Chinese New Year is usually a slow month and it is reflected in the value growth in February. However, trends actually indicate that optimism towards spending intentions has translated into increased spending in the month of March,” said Hall. “The trend suggests that the market is in an encouraging zone, and that the next quarter will be crucial in gauging the real spending of consumers and its sustainability.”