Thursday, 4 June 2009

What recession? Filipinos still upbeat on the economy

Abigail L. Ho
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Most Filipinos are still relatively optimistic that the economy will improve soon, according to a recent survey by global market research firm Synovate.

According to the 2,000-people survey, 44 percent of Filipinos nationwide believed that while the economy was still weak, it would soon start to recover.

Forty-three percent of respondents even said that they had earned more in the last six months.

Despite this, Filipinos still chose to be relatively frugal, choosing to spend a little less and becoming more conscious of the things that they actually buy.

“Interestingly enough, Filipinos across the Philippines generally share a sentiment of renewed optimism and this is a good thing as it leads to greater consumer confidence,” Synovate Philippines managing director Carole Sarthou said in a statement.

“However, our results show that they have become more conscious when it comes to spending, with close to two-thirds (or 59 percent) paying more attention to prices of food items before making a purchase. This trend may continue throughout the year,” she added.

First to go on the list of purchases are luxury items, with 76 percent of those polled saying they had chosen to refrain from buying premium and branded goods.

Among items considered luxury, the biggest casualties were high-tech gadgets at 38 percent, followed by branded items at 27 percent.

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed also chose not to dine out, while 25 percent and 23 percent, respectively, said they had sacrificed holidays and big-ticket items such as expensive appliances.

“High-tech gadgets and branded goods topped the list of items to be [avoided] among those from Metro Manila, while over a quarter [28 percent] from Mindanao said they were giving up on outside meals with friends, choosing cheaper dining options instead. Again, it’s a matter of priorities and Filipinos are, in fact, making changes to their spending habits across the Philippines,” Sarthou said.

Twelve percent of Metro Manila respondents, however, said they were actually spending more on luxury items.

Necessities were on top of the list of Filipinos’ purchases at 61 percent. The biggest spenders were respondents from Metro Manila (70 percent) and South Luzon (67 percent).

“It’s evident that the current economic situation has impacted the lives of everyday Filipinos, but in spite of this worrying trend, the people we interviewed were generally determined and upbeat, with over three quarters (86 percent) agreeing that they will always find a way to afford some items that make them feel good,” she added.

The survey also showed that Filipinos were also saving less (42 percent) and investing less (29 percent).

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