Mood brightens among consumers in HK and mainland, poll shows

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 July, 2010, 12:00am

Consumer confidence on the mainland is higher than ever, while in Hong Kong it is well above the global average, according to a survey by a marketing research firm.

The mainland scored 109 points in the Nielsen quarterly consumer confidence survey as Hong Kong rose to 101, with the global average of 93 reflecting a rebound to the highest point since the third quarter of 2007. Any score above 100 is positive.

Consumer confidence on the mainland has outscored the global average since the second half of 2006. It was up one point in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter.

Professor Peng Fei, deputy director of the National Survey Research Centre at Renmin University, said the results reflected general optimism on the mainland.

'Living standards have been improving year by year and during this process people have acquired a strong optimistic feeling towards the future,' Peng said.

In Hong Kong, consumer confidence was up two points in the second quarter compared to the first after recovering from a global low of 70 points at the start of last year.

The survey found 73 per cent of Hongkongers felt the local economy was out of recession, a big increase on the figure of 40 per cent recorded a year earlier. Worldwide, an average of 42 per cent of respondents said their country had left the recession behind.

When asked about disposable income, most Hongkongers (72 per cent) said they saved it, although they were also willing to spend on holidays (49 per cent), out-of-home entertainment (40 per cent) and new clothes (34 per cent). The global average for putting money into savings was 49 per cent of respondents, with a regional average of 59 per cent. Likewise, the global average for spending spare money on holidays was 37 per cent.

Hongkongers' confidence in stocks and mutual funds is back to pre-recession levels. In the past 12 months the proportion of respondents reporting they had an investment plan increased from 47 per cent to 53 per cent.

Peng said this illustrated the maturity of Hong Kong investors. He said that after the correction in the equity market in the first half of 2010, investors were ready to seize buying opportunities. 'Hong Kong is a very special place,' Peng said. 'It's a window on the world for the Far East region.'

Peng said the V-shape recovery showed that strong consumer confidence on the mainland had had a positive influence on Hong Kong, which had been more exposed to the global pessimism during the economic recession.

The top concerns of Hongkongers remained the same - the economy (37 per cent), health (28), work/life balance (25) and job security (23).

The survey was taken in May, covering 27,000 people in 48 countries.