Indonesians are the second-most confident people in the world about their job prospects and near-term financial futures, according to a global survey released on Tuesday by media and consumer research company AC Nielsen.
Indonesia rose a point to 116 in the consumer confidence index, second only to Indiaâ€™s 127 and just above Norwayâ€™s 115.
About 70 percent of Indonesians polled described their job prospects as excellent or good, well above the 57 percent average for consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, and 77 percent of Indonesians said they were upbeat about their personal finances over the next 12 months.
In addition, 46 percent said they believed now was a good or excellent time to buy things they want and need, an increase from 41 percent six months ago.
â€śSo optimism is growing and all things being equal, this should translate into spending,â€ť said Catherine Eddy, Nielsenâ€™s executive director of consumer research.
And the money will be spent on things other than washing machines and vacuum cleaners.
The survey found that Indonesians plan to indulge themselves by spending more on vacations and new clothes, while the percentage of those using disposable income to pay down debts has slipped to 28 percent from 30 percent in the third quarter of last year.
â€śIt seems Indonesian consumers are gradually loosening their purse strings as we see increases in their intention to spend on what we might call indulgence categories,â€ť Eddy said.
The Nielsen survey, conducted online in March, measured the views of 27,000 people in 55 countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. In Indonesia, a total of 505 online users participated in the survey.
Nielsen said the survey has a maximum margin of error of about 0.6 of a percentage point.
Globally, Lithuania, Croatia, and Portugal were the most pessimistic nations. Taiwan recorded the biggest jump in consumer confidence, followed by Singapore and Israel. Crisis-struck Greece recorded the steepest decline.
In Asia, the Philippines ranked third, Australia fourth and China fifth.
About 65 percent of Chinese consumers said they were are optimistic about their job prospects, while 64 percent said their personal finances were good, but only 41 percent said this is a good time to buy the things they want and need.
About 20 percent of Asia-Pacific consumers expressed concerns about the economy, 14 percent about the balance between life and work, and 11 percent about their health.
Consumer confidence in many markets rebounded to pre-recession levels of late 2007 and early 2008. Over the past year, the number of global consumers who believe their nation is in recession dropped to 58 percent, compared with 77 percent a year ago.
While exceedingly confident, Indonesians also rated the economy as their second-biggest concern. That compares to consumers in Asia Pacific who put the economy as their chief worry.
â€śIndonesiansâ€™ top priority is their work-and-life balance with 18 percent. The economy comes in at 17 percent, followed by childrenâ€™s education at 14 percent, parentsâ€™ welfare and happiness at 13 percent,â€ť Eddy said.
More than half - about 55 percent - of Indonesians surveyed do not believe Indonesia is in a recession.
â€śWhile, among those who do, 31 percent believe the situation will improve in the next 12 months,â€ť Eddy said.
This is lower than the Asia-Pacific average. As many as 65 percent of consumers in the region say their country is not in recession, increasing from 57 percent in the third quarter of 2009.
However, Japanese and South Korean consumers seemed pessimistic, saying that their countries are in recession (77 percent and 76 percent, respectively).
However, Eddy said the optimism of Indonesian consumers was fragile.
â€śSpikes in fuel and the nine basic food prices can easily trigger more consumer spending. This usually happens in the second semester when Idul Fitri takes place,â€ť she said.
Purbaya Yudhi Sadewa, chief economist at state-owned brokerage PT Danareksa Sekuritas, said the survey results bode well for the domestic economy, as spending contributes 60 to 65 percent of the nationâ€™s gross domestic product.
â€śThis year, consumer spending may contribute between 2.5 to 3 percentage points of the countryâ€™s targeted economic growth of 5.7 percent,â€ť he said.