Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Vietnam ranked the fourth most optimistic country globally with a rise of 9 points on the Consumer Confidence Index in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the last quarter of 2017, thanks to increased positivity about local job prospects and the state of personal finances.

According to the latest issue of the Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey – in collaboration with Nielsen, a global information and measurement company – this is the highest score on the Consumer Confidence Index Vietnam has reached over the last decade.

The survey said countries in the Southeast Asian region normally have higher confidence levels than those in more developed regions. The high confidence in these economies is in keeping with their fast growth and higher potential for further growth.

Emerging countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia had an annual average GDP growth of between 5 to 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.

In addition, the positive momentum of economic growth across the industries combined with positive signals from foreign investment flows, increasing household incomes, and growth-oriented government policies can be translated into consumer optimism, the survey said.

Nguyen Huong Quynh, General Director of Nielsen Vietnam, said that the positive sentiment of Vietnamese consumers has not, however, led to strong fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales, with the market up just 1.8 percent in the first quarter.

The growth was slower than expected and reflected the volatility of the FMCG industry, which is subject to change depending on consumer behaviour, she added.

The survey said after covering essential living expenses, Vietnamese consumers were eager to spend on big ticket items to enhance the quality of life. Close to three-fourths (73 percent) of respondents said they would put their spare cash into savings.

The report also revealed that saving was an integral part of Southeast Asian consumer livelihood, with 67 percent of respondents putting their spare cash into savings.

“While health insurance was once thought of as luxury years ago, Vietnamese consumers have now started getting financial assistance to pay for health insurance programs. This trend reflects one of the changes in consumers’ mindsets. When consumers cover themselves with insurance plans, they receive a needed sense of protection”, Quynh said. -VNA