Indians, the most optimistic people in the world

With 135 points, consumer confidence in India rides high yet again. This is the fifth time that India is topping the twice-yearly Global Consumer Confidence Index conducted by The Nielsen Company.

The survey polled 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East about their job prospects, the state of their own finances, and what they do with their spare cash.

The Confidence Index is slightly down by two points compared to the last survey, which was done in October 2006.

“Indian consumer confidence is in line with the release of the country’s latest GDP figure of 9.4 percent - the highest growth India has posted in eighteen years,” said Sarang Panchal, Executive Director, Customized Research South East Asia for ACNielsen, a division of The Nielsen Company, “It is no surprise, therefore, to see forty-five percent of Indian consumers surveyed rating their job prospects in the next 12 months as ‘excellent’".

According to the survey 93 percent of Indians polled consider their job prospects to be ‘excellent or good’ over the next 12 months. The high consumer confidence is also reflected in the way consumers view the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months with nine in ten Indians feeling ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ about it. Indians are also quite optimistic and confident about the future of the economy with 61 percent feeling that it is an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ time to buy things that they want or need.

Beyond essentials

The survey shows that Indians are becoming more and more investment oriented. 53 percent of Indians said that they would invest in shares of stock or mutual funds with their spare cash after covering their essential living expenses, the third highest globally for investment in shares and mutual funds after Hong Kong and China and was similar to the proportion of people who would save for a rainy day (52%). Increasingly Indians love traveling and it finds it’s way to the third slot, with 39 percent Indians voting for it as a means of “spending” their extra money.

Paying off debts/credit card loans (37%), buying new clothes (32%), new technology (29%), and home improvement and decorative items (32%) are some other ways Indian respondents utilize their spare cash. Retirement fund is also something that Indians believe they should invest in, with 21 percent of Indians investing in it.

“With a high propensity to spend among Indian consumers, benefits to different industries become more substantial which in turn supports a continued improvement in the economy and consumer sentiment” said Panchal, ”with four percent of the Indian respondents admitting to not having any spare cash after their necessary purchase for discretionary spending, it is among the lowest in the world”.

Major Concerns In spite of the high confidence levels there are still some areas of concern for consumers. In India though the economy is booming, the major concern for most still seems to be the country’s economy, with 46 percent citing this as their biggest and second biggest concern. Health comes second with 31 percent Indians considering it as their biggest and second biggest concern.

Job Security (19%), Political Stability (16%), Terrorism (16% - also features on the global top 10) and Crime (12%) are amongst other issues concerning Indians. The concern amongst Indians over Terrorism in particular has fallen by 15 points as compared to the last survey results, showing an increase in the positive mindset of Indians.

Global Warming, a frightening prospect

Global warming has fast become an alarming environmental hazard and 19 percent of Indians expressed their concern about it. “The level of concern about global warming is now on par with people’s concern about personal things like job security,” continued Panchal. “It’s time for both the government and people to take their own responsibilities to slow down the worsening situation, if not improving”.

Pessimistic… who, Indians?

The continued upbeat Indian consumers have presented a contrast with the world’s most pessimistic consumers who hail mainly from Portugal, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hungary, who are quite pessimistic, whether about the job market, state of their personal finances or readiness to spend.

(This is press release of ACNielsen)



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