Fri, 27 Jun 2003

Consumer confidence in RI drops

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A sluggish economy, the SARS outbreak and the Iraq war have dampened consumer confidence in Indonesia, as well as in a dozen other countries in the Asia Pacific, dampening hope for an economic turnaround in 2003, according to an AC Nielsen Asia Pacific Online Consumer Confidence Survey released on Thursday.

The survey shows only 16 percent of Indonesian respondents expected an economic recovery this year. This made Indonesians the second-most pessimistic consumers after the Japanese at 13 percent.

Some 7,800 consumers in 13 countries participated in the survey, which was conducted in May.

The most optimistic consumers were in India, with 61 percent saying the country's economy would rebound within a year.

Compared to a similar survey conducted in December, consumer confidence dropped in all 13 countries taking part in the survey, except Thailand, where it increased by 7 percent. Taiwan and Singapore saw the deepest drop in consumer confidence at 15 percent.

Although not experiencing a significant drop from the last survey, Indonesia's consumer confidence remains low, with 73 percent of respondents having major concerns about the country's economy.

However, 89 percent of the 576 Indonesian respondents interviewed via the Internet said they planned to buy "major item" in the next six months, after deferring purchases and saving money in the past six months.

The most popular item to be bought was mobile phones (49 percent of respondents). Some 26 percent planned to buy digital cameras, 20 percent personal computers and 18 percent cars.

From the results of the survey, it seems that the Indonesian respondents tended to save their money during the first semester only to spend it during the second semester.

A profile of respondents was 75 percent male and 54 percent aged between 25 to 34, with access to the Internet.

The survey also found that 85 percent of Australians and New Zealanders interviewed were still reluctant to travel within Asia due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.