Vietnam's consumer confidence index dipped 8 points to 87 in the third quarter of this year, marking the lowest confidence level since the first quarter of 2009, according to the latest findings from Nielsen, a global market research company.

According to the survey, conducted between August 10 and September 7, at least 73 percent of Vietnamese said this was not a good time to make purchases.

Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and Japan were also the bottom-five countries and territories that were the least optimistic about local job prospects.

Ninety-one percent of Vietnamese respondents reported change in their spending in order to save on household expenses. This rose from 86 percent in the second quarter and 84 percent in the first quarter.

As for the items that were cut back the most, 68 percent of Vietnamese consumers pointed to gas and electricity, followed by new clothes (67 percent), out-of-home entertainment (66 percent) and telephone expenses (55 percent).

With fuel prices rising five times within the third quarter, 24 percent of Vietnamese respondents said utility bills (electricity, gas, heating) were their biggest concern. This was followed by the economy and job security at 20 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Only 42 percent of Vietnamese respondents believed their personal finances in the coming year would be good to excellent, down from 51 percent in the second quarter.

Similarly, 40 percent of Vietnamese online respondents believed their local job prospects would be good to excellent over the next 12 months, a drop of 6 percentage points from the second quarter and 18 percentage points since the beginning of the year.

"The subdued third quarter results reflected an overall trend that is neither positive nor negative as consumers are treading water very carefully," said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen.

Meanwhile, according to the survey, global consumer confidence increased one index point to 92 in the third quarter of this year, up four index points from the same period the previous year.

Nielsen's survey shows that North America and Europe reported the only quarterly consumer confidence increases, rising three index points to 91 and one point to 74, respectively.

The Asia-Pacific (100) and Middle East/Africa (98) regions remained flat in the third quarter, and Latin America fell two index points to 94.

Begun in 2005, The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, measures consumer confidence and major concerns and spending intentions of more than 29,000 consumers in 58 countries. The survey is conducted online.

Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate the degrees of optimism and pessimism.-VNA