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Filipinos turning thrifty

High consumer confidence among Filipinos doesn’t necessarily mean they spend more, according to a recent survey from Nielsen showing locals becoming thriftier in the first three months of the year.

Filipino consumer confidence dropped slightly in both score and global rankings in Nielsen’s consumer confidence index for the first quarter 2013. The country fell to third place after its index score dipped one point from the previous quarter to 118.

Stronger proof that Filipinos are becoming frugal was their restrain on spending and growing eagerness to save money, according to Stuart Jamieson, managing director at Nielsen Philippines.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said it is not a good time to buy things they want and need over the next 12 months while 6% thought it’s quite a bad time to shop. Respondents who agree that it is an excellent time to buy fell two points from 8% in Q4 2012 to 6%.

Compared to last year, around 83% of the respondents said they have changed their spending, an increase of 5% from the previous quarter, admitting they spent less on clothes, tried to save on gas and electricity and switched to cheaper grocery brands just to save on household expenses.

Sixty-eight percent prioritized saving spare cash, a rise of three percentage points from Q4 last year while plans on upgrading gadgets and related technology dropped two points to 33%

While confidence slightly waned, Filipino consumers feel positive about the state of their personal finances with 16% viewing their personal finances as excellent while 65% find their finances in good condition.

Jamieson predicts that Filipinos will continue to be on budget saving mode even when economic conditions improve.

“While sentiments all over the world improved, uncertainties over natural disasters, weak labor markets, increasing prices of petroleum products, and rising costs of goods and services, may have had minimal effect on the continuing positive outlook of the Filipino consumers, these factors left a lasting influence on the consumers, driving them to be more cautious and practical on how they will spend their hard earned money,” he concludes.

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