Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Survey (Fourth Quarter Report 2011)

17 Jan

Press release

There has been a slight improvement in local consumer confidence for the next three months. However, consumer expectations for the medium-term future have further deteriorated, according to the fourth quarter consumer confidence survey in 2011 released today by the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre (BFRC). 

The BFRC commissioned the Public Governance Programme of Lingnan University to interview over 1,000 respondents in a telephone survey between 15 and 19 December 2011. 

The Bauhinia Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Index (BHKCCI) - an index of consumer confidence over economic expectations and behaviours in the next three months – was 101.9 in December 2011, slightly higher than the index value of 97.1 in the previous survey. 

However, consumer expectations of economic conditions over the next 12 months have further weakened, as reflected in the continuous downward trend of the Bauhinia Hong Kong Consumer Expectations Index (BHKCEI), from 77.5 in the previous quarter to 74.9 in December 2011, a record low since the launch of the BHKCEI. 

Commenting on the findings, the BFRC Chairman Anthony Wu said, “The external economic environment still poses many uncertainties. As Hong Kong is an open economy highly exposed to global economic downturn, it is understandable that local consumers tend to have a more cautious and prudent outlook on the city’s economic prospects in the medium-term future.” 

Other important findings of the survey include a marked improvement of consumer expectations for their expenses on daily necessities and non-recurrent large purchases. 

“The seasonally high consumption pattern driven by Christmas and the New Year is in line with the findings of the same quarter of previous years. It appears that consumers have no intention to cut their spending for the festive season despite an unfavourable economic outlook,” Mr Wu added. 

Detailed findings of the survey are as follows:

• Respondents’ current perceptions of Hong Kong’s overall economic conditions have improved. Their expectations for the next three months have been at par, while their expectations for the next 12 months have worsened significantly. 

• Respondents’ current perceptions of Hong Kong’s employment situations have been at par, while their expectations for the next three months and the next 12 months have worsened slightly. 

• Respondents’ current situations of household incomes, as well as their expectations for the next three months and those for the next 12 months have improved slightly.

• The employment situations of respondents’ family members over the past three months have improved slightly, and their expectations for the next three months have been at par.

• Property purchases by respondents’ families over the past three months have worsened and their expectations for the next three months have been at par.

• Respondents’ expenses on daily necessities over the past three months have been at par, while their expectations for the next three months have improved significantly. 

• Respondents’ spending on non-recurrent large purchases over the past three months has worsened, while their expectations for the next three months have improved significantly. 

• Respondents’ investment in financial products over the past three months has worsened very significantly, and their expectations for the next three months have improved. 

This two-part consumer confidence survey was the 11 th quarterly survey commissioned by the BFRC since June 2009. Questions in the first part of the survey are related to respondents’ perception of Hong Kong’s overall economic conditions, Hong Kong’s employment situations and respondents’ household incomes in three timeframes (i.e. the current situation, the next three months and the next 12 months). Questions in the second part are related to respondents’ various economic and consumption behaviours for the past three months and the next three months.