Consumer confidence very weak – slow rise continued in March 2023release | Consumer confidence 2023, March
According to Statistics Finland, the balance figure of the consumer confidence indicator (CCI) stood at -10.8 in March, having been -11.9 in February and -12.7 in January. One year earlier in March, the CCI received the value -10.5. The long-term average for the CCI is -2.2. The data are based on the Consumer Confidence Survey, to which 1,026 persons resident in Finland responded between 1 and 16 March.
- In March, expectations concerning Finland's economy in 12 months' time improved slightly from the previous month but remained fairly gloomy. The assessment of the present situation and expectations concerning one's own economy weakened slightly and were on a very low level.
- Compared to one year earlier, the assessment of the present situation concerning one's own economy was clearly weaker, while expectations about it remained unchanged. Expectations concerning Finland's economy were on a stronger level than one year earlier.
- Intentions to spend money on durable goods increased slightly but were still very scant. The time was considered very unfavourable for making purchases. Plans to buy a car or a dwelling were clearly lower than usual.
- Estimates of inflation at the time of the survey fell from the record figures of the previous month. Expectations concerning inflation in one year's time remained almost unchanged on a lower level.
- Consumers' own financial situation and saving possibilities were assessed as fairly good. The threat of unemployment was felt to have remained as usual.
Consumer confidence in areas of residence and population groups
In March, consumer confidence in the economy was exceptionally strongest in Northern Finland (CCI -6.9). Confidence was weakest in Eastern Finland (-17.5). Among population groups, upper-level salaried employees were most optimistic (-4.4). Unemployed persons had the gloomiest expectations concerning economic development in March (-18.3). More detailed information is available in the figures and database tables.
Consumers' own and Finland's economy
In March, consumers' expectations concerning Finland's economy in 12 months' time improved slightly from February but remained fairly gloomy. In turn, the assessment of the present situation and consumers' expectations concerning their own economy weakened slightly and were on a very low level in March.
Compared to March one year earlier, consumers' views about their own economy at present were clearly weaker, while expectations concerning their own economy remained unchanged in a year. Expectations concerning Finland's economy were on a considerably higher level in March than one year earlier.
Thirty-three per cent of consumers thought in March that their own economy is weaker than one year earlier. Only 22 per cent of consumers regarded their own economy at the time of the survey stronger than one year earlier. As many as 77 per cent of consumers thought that Finland’s economic situation is now worse than a year ago and only four per cent saw it better.
In March, 18 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming 12 months, while 41 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. In all, 26 per cent of consumers believed in March that their own economy would improve and 21 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year.
Unemployment and its threat
Consumers’ expectations about the development of the general unemployment situation in Finland improved slightly but remained on the long-term average level. Altogether 17 per cent of consumers expected that unemployment would decrease over the year, and 39 per cent believed it would increase.
In March, employed consumers (wage and salary earners and self-employed persons) reckoned that their personal threat of unemployment or lay-off had grown slightly. However, it was estimated that the threat remained on the long-term average level. Five per cent of employed persons believed that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened over the past few months, while 19 per cent thought the risk had grown. Nearly one half or 45 per cent of employed persons felt in March that they were not threatened by unemployment or temporary lay-off at all.
In March, consumers' estimates of inflation at the time of the survey fell from record figures in the previous month. Expectations concerning price changes in 12 months’ time remained almost unchanged on a lower level.
Consumers estimated in March that consumer prices have risen by 8.2 per cent from the previous year's March and would go up by 5.3 per cent over the next year. As many as 93 per cent of consumers thought that prices had gone up much or fairly much over the year. Clearly fewer or 35 per cent of consumers expected prices to rise at least at the same rate in the coming months as well.
Financial situation, saving and raising a loan
As in the previous few months, the time was considered very poor for taking out a loan and also for saving in March. Only 10 per cent of consumers regarded the time favourable for taking out a loan and 38 per cent considered saving worthwhile. At the same time, intentions to take out a loan were also quite low. In March, 15 per cent of consumers were planning to take out a loan within one year.
In March, consumers still considered their own financial situation to be relatively good. Consumers expected to have slightly more saving possibilities in the coming months than usual. Fifty-eight per cent of consumers had been able to lay aside some money and 74 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.
Spending and intentions to make large purchases
In March, the time was still regarded as very unfavourable for buying durable goods. Only eight per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for making expensive purchases.
Consumers’ intentions to spend money on durable goods in the next 12 months were still very low in March. Intentions to purchase recovered a little from February but fell back compared to one year earlier. In March, just nine per cent of consumers planned on increasing and 44 per cent on reducing their spending on durable goods over the next 12 months.
Consumers thought of buying a car in the next 12 months clearly less in March than the long-term. The same applied to buying a dwelling and somewhat also to renovations.
Only 11 per cent of consumers were either definitely or possibly going to buy a car during the next 12 months. Similarly, just 11 per cent of consumers considered buying a dwelling or building a house. Sixteen per cent of consumers were planning to spend money on renovating their dwelling during the next 12 months.
Data set for the statistics
The Consumer Confidence Survey is carried out with a web questionnaire and by telephone interviews. Answers are mainly given by means of answer options (qualitative survey). In March 2023, a total of 1,026 persons participated in the Survey and the response rate was 47.0 per cent. Of the responses, 76 per cent came from the web questionnaire (of the sample the share was 35%).
The (seasonally adjusted) survey results concerning economic expectations for all EU countries are released monthly on the European Commission website.
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