Hong Kongers happy, but overworked

A positive employment outlook has driven consumer confidence to its highest point in two years, fueling a new wave of discretionary spending across the city.

Consumer confidence has increased 33 points in since March 2009, making Hong Kong a significant contributor to buoyant consumer confidence levels across Asia.

The findings, part of Nielsen's Global Consumer Confidence Survey, show Asia is the world's most confident region, with an index of 98 points. Nine of the top 10 most confident national hail from Asia Pacific countries.

Locally, a healthy employment outlook and a drop in unemployment to 4.2% are key factors behind the result.

Nielsen's survey also shows 78% of Hong Kong consumers believe they are no longer in a recession - a 10 point improvement on the past 12 months.

Oliver Rust (pictured), managing director of The Nielsen Company Hong Kong, said the result also demonstrates the resilience of Hong Kong consumers to adapt to the recovering local economy. But while concerns about the economy are fading, a rising concern over health and a work/life balance has emerged.

"Consumers now value the quality of their personal lives more when they no longer need to worry about they jobs," Rust said.

"The increase of food prices is now a key concern," he said. "Especially with the dramatic increase in raw material prices across the region."

Consistent with the overall willingness to spend on discretionary items, Hong Kong consumers are spending more on consumer durables as well as overseas travel.