Consumer confidence in Vietnam has dipped to its lowest level since the third quarter of 2010 as concerns remain over the economic situation, a survey has found.

Global consumer research firm Nielsen said in its press release that the consumer confidence index for Vietnam dropped five points from the previous quarter to stand at 94 points for Q1 2012. Its survey also found that "three out of every four Vietnamese online consumers believe it is not a good time to buy the things they want and need over the next 12 months."

The Nielsen global survey has since 2005 tracked consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 28,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

In the first quarter of this year, it said, Vietnamese consumers were most concerned about job security, the general economic situation, rising food and fuel prices as well as healthcare costs. "Fifty-three percent of Vietnamese online respondents described their job prospects in 2012 as good/excellent, a slight decline from 58 percent in Q4 2011 and 60 percent from a year ago. Only 49 percent of Vietnamese consumers are confident that their personal finance will be good/excellent in the coming year, dipping 5 points versus the previous quarter and 7 points versus Q1 2011," the release said.

It said the decline in consumer confidence was also reflected in the fact that saving spare cash has become top choice (69 per cent) among Vietnamese consumers, up four percent over the previous quarter.

As in the previous quarter, 84 percent of the survey respondents said they had changed their spending to save on household expenses, mainly on new clothes (65 percent), gas and electricity (65 percent), out-of-home entertainment (61 percent), replacement of major house items (52 percent), and upgrading technology (48 percent).

The survey, done between February 10 and February 27, 2012, polled more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries of the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

It found consumer confidence up in all global regions except Latin America , which remained flat at 98 index points.

It said India (123) remained the world's most optimistic market for the ninth consecutive quarter, followed by Saudi Arabia (119), Indonesia (118) and the Philippines (118).

Hungary was the world's most pessimistic market at 32 index points, followed by Greece (37) and Portugal (39).-VNA