Filipinos remain optimistic after Yolanda but more thrifty

Filipinos remain as the second most optimistic customers in Southeast Asia but the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda had made them financially cautious.

The country had an index score of 114 in Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions for the fourth quarter, on the tail of poll leader Indonesia (124) despite slipping four points from the third quarter.

Filipino respondents’ perception of their personal finances also slightly dipped alongside consumer confidence. Around 76% perceived their personal finances to be good or excellent in Q4, which is down 1 point from the last quarter.

“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.

After covering essential living expenses, around 7 in 10 (68%) Filipinos saved their spare case, which is up one point versus previous quarter.

In addition to saving money, Filipino respondents have been cutting back on household expenses more in the fourth quarter. Eighty-five percent said they have been keeping a closer eye on spending, a five-point increase versus last quarter and a seven-point increase from the same quarter last year.

The most commonly cited areas where Filipino consumers cut back spending includes clothing, gas and electricity. They have also delayed technology upgrades, switched to cheaper grocery brands and veered away from take-away meals and out-of-home entertainment.

But while they’re becoming increasingly frugal, Jamieson noted that there are consumers who remain open to experiencing and enjoying their hard earned cash.

Twenty-eight percent of Filipino respondents said that they plan to spend their spare cash on holidays and vacations, an increase of three points versus the last quarter.

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