Where Do the World’s Happiest Consumers Live?

Where Do the World’s Happiest Consumers Live?
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Indonesia's consumers are the most optimistic in the world, followed by those in India, the Philippines and Thailand, according to a survey published on Wednesday by market-research firm Nielsen. Asia-Pacific countries made up seven of the 10 most confident countries globally in the Nielsen survey of global consumer confidence and spending intentions, conducted between February 17 and March 8. The survey found that Indonesia is the world's most optimistic country with a confidence index of 122 points in the first quarter of the year, up five points from the final quarter of last year. (Read MoreGolden Week Loses Its Shine for Hong Kong) "Indonesian consumers are particularly buoyant due to strong domestic conditions," Catherine Eddy, managing director for Nielsen in Indonesia said in a statement. "An increase in the minimum wage has also resulted in more disposable income for those in formal employment, and there is a clear trend of consumers trading up to premium brands. As domestic consumption is the mainstay of GDP in Indonesia this augurs well for growth in the years ahead," she said. The minimum wage in some parts of Indonesia rose 40 percent earlier this year, in response to protests and threats of factory closures. (Read MoreFlood of Easy Money Putting This Region at Risk) Southeast Asia's biggest economy has enjoyed annual growth of more than 6 percent in each of the past three years. It has proved resilient in the face of weak growth globally, and expectations for a rise in consumer spending have raised the country's appeal as a destination for foreign investment. The country's stock market has rallied about 15 percent so far this year. Nielsen's index of consumer confidence globally rose two points to 103 in the first quarter of the year. The top 10 countries listed for high levels of consumer optimism were: Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Norway. (Read MoreChinese Way of Doing Business: In Cash We Trust) Asian countries where the Nielsen survey noted a significant rise in optimism among shoppers included South Korea and Japan; the latter of which has embarked on a concerted bid to revive economic growth and end two decades of deflation. Nielsen's consumer-confidence index for Japan rose 14 points to 73 in the first quarter. (Read MoreConflicting Japan Data: What They Tell Us) According to Nielsen, saving money was the main priority for consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, with 62 percent of those surveyed indicating that they save spare cash once essential living costs have been covered. Asia-Pacific's consumers are at least two times more likely to have spare cash than in any other part of the world, Nielsen said. "The Asia-Pacific consumer continues to gain optimism, yet remains quite discerning and frugal, and will continue to prioritize saving and investment," said Therese Glennon, APMEA region consumer insights leader at Nielsen said in a statement. — By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter: @DharaCNBC

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