Consumer confidence improves for Q1 2023;remains favorable for Q2 2023 and the next 12 months

The consumer sentiment in the country was less pessimistic for Q1 2023 as the overall confidence index (CI) improved to -10.4 percent from -14.6 percent in Q4 2022.

The less negative CI indicates that the number of households with optimistic views increased, but it was still lower than those with pessimistic views.

Consumers cited that their improved outlook for Q1 2023 was due to their optimism about: (a) more available jobs and permanent employment, (b) higher income from wages/salaries, remittances, and other sources, and (c) positive developments in the country’s COVID-19 situation such as the relaxation of vaccination, testing, and masking requirements, fewer COVID-19 cases, and post-pandemic recovery of businesses as workers return to their offices.

For the next quarter (Q2 2023), the CI declined but remained positive at 7.5 percent from 9.5 percent a quarter ago. Meanwhile, the consumer sentiment for the next 12 months remained optimistic as the CI marginally increased to 22.7 percent from 21.7 percent in Q4 2022.

Consumer confidence across component indicators and income groups improved in Q1 2023. Consistent with the nationwide consumer outlook, consumer confidence was less pessimistic for Q1 2023 across all three component indicators (i.e., family financial situation, country’s economic condition, and family income), and across all income groups (i.e., low, middle, and high).

Consumers are less hesitant about buying big-ticket items in Q1 2023. The consumer sentiment on buying big-ticket items for Q1 2023 was less pessimistic as the CI turned less negative to -72.8 percent from -74.5 percent in Q4 2022.

The percentage of households with loans decreases, while those with savings increases. About 22.8 percent of households availed of a loan in the last 12 months, which is lower than the 24 percent recorded in the previous quarter’s survey results. Meanwhile, the percentage of households with savings rose to 32.9 percent from 30.5 percent in Q4 2022.

Consumers expect higher interest and inflation rates, a weaker peso, and lower unemployment rate for Q1 2023 and the near term. For Q1 and Q2 2023, and the next 12 months, consumers anticipate that the interest rate may increase, the peso may depreciate against the U.S. dollar, and the unemployment rate may decline. Consumers also expect that the inflation rate may rise for the reference periods. In particular, consumers are expecting that the inflation rate may average at 6.2 percent for the next 12 months, which is above the upper end of the National Government’s inflation target range of 2 to 4 percent for 2023-2024.

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