Malaysians still among world’s top savers, survey finds

While the intent to save is high, the survey found that Malaysian consumers are also ready to indulge on big ticket items such as holidays or vacations. — Reuters pic
While the intent to save is high, the survey found that Malaysian consumers are also ready to indulge on big ticket items such as holidays or vacations. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 ― Malaysian consumers’ saving intention, at 67 per cent, is one of the highest globally, according to the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.

In a statement today, Nielsen said saving intentions among Malaysian and Southeast Asian consumers continue to be a priority, based on its survey for the first quarter (Q12016) of this year.

“The region’s consumers are the world’s most avid savers with all six countries securing the top 10 spots globally when it comes to saving,” it added.

The survey involved 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 63 countries.

“About one third of Malaysians are also focused on building their financial nest by channeling extra cash towards investing in shares of stock/mutual funds (32 per cent) and retirement fund (27 per cent), while two in five respondents used any extra monies to clear debts, credit card debts or loans (41 per cent),” it said.

While the intent to save is high, the survey found that Malaysian consumers are also ready to indulge on big ticket items such as holidays or vacations (up 4 per cent to 40 per cent), upgrading of new technology products (up 7 per cent to 19 per cent), out-of-home entertainment (up 5 per cent to 18 per cent) and home improvements or decorating (up 2 per cent to 18 per cent) in Q12016 as per the previous quarter.

The survey also revealed that consumers in Malaysia continue to reduce household spending, even when economic conditions can improve, with nearly nine in 10 Malaysian consumers changing their spending habits in the past year to improve savings (88 per cent).

The top three areas where consumers in Malaysia continue to cut back even when economic conditions can improve are, spending less on new clothes (65 per cent), reducing out-of-home entertainment (56 per cent) and switching to cheaper grocery brands (51 per cent).

In the region, Vietnam maintains its first ranking saving intentions at 78 per cent, followed by Indonesia (75 per cent), the Philippines (69 per cent), and Singapore (67 per cent) shared same placing with Malaysia, while Thailand (66 per cent) took sixth spot.

On average, only half of global consumers prioritise saving any spare cash (51 per cent).

Meanwhile, Nielsen said Malaysia’s consumer confidence index remained stable, down one point to 79 percentage points (pp) in Q12016.

Malaysia is now ranked 36th as the most confident country globally, it said. ― Bernama

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