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Published: 27 September 2011

Consumer confidence sank further in September

The consumer confidence indicator stood at 2.3 in September, having been 5.1 in August and 11.3 in July. In last year's September, consumers' confidence in the economy was at its strongest and the confidence indicator received the value 22.9. The long-term average for the confidence indicator is 13.2. The data are based on Statistics Finland’s Consumer Survey, for which 1,452 people resident in Finland were interviewed between 1 and 19 September.

Consumer confidence indicator

Consumer confidence indicator

Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, only consumers' already bright assessments about their own saving possibilities improved in September from the previous month. In contrast, views on their own economy in general somewhat weakened further. Consumers' expectations concerning the economy in general, or Finland's economy and the development of unemployment became ever gloomier in September. Assessments about the country's economy were the most pessimistic since the latter part of 2008, and consumers were last more worried about growing unemployment in 2009.

In September employed consumers felt personally slightly more threatened by unemployment than before. In addition, saving was regarded as considerably more worthwhile than purchasing of durable goods or raising a loan, in particular.

In September only 16 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 48 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. In August the corresponding proportions were 18 and 45 per cent and in last year's September very optimistic 56 and 8 per cent. In all, 23 per cent of consumers believed in September that their own economy would improve and 16 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year. One month earlier, the corresponding proportions were 24 and 15 per cent, and one year earlier 28 and 12 per cent.

Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time

Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time

In September, only 14 per cent of consumers still thought that unemployment would decrease in Finland over the next year, while as many as 58 per cent of them believed it would increase. The corresponding proportions were 17 and 42 per cent in August and optimistic 39 and 21 per cent one year ago.

Eleven per cent of employed persons believed in September that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened over the past few months, whereas more of them, or 15 per cent thought it had grown. The corresponding proportions were 13 and 14 per cent in August and 20 and 13 per cent one year ago. In September, 47 per cent of employed persons thought the threat had remained unchanged and 27 per cent felt that they were not threatened by unemployment at all.

Consumers predicted in September that consumer prices would go up by 3.2 per cent over the next 12 months. In July the predicted inflation rate was still 3.6 per cent. The long-term predicted average inflation rate is 2.2 per cent.

In September, 65 per cent of consumers considered saving worthwhile. As many as 69 per cent of households had been able to lay aside some money and 81 per cent of them believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.

In September, 47 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. One year ago the respective proportion was 71 per cent. In September, 12 per cent of households were planning to take out a loan within one year.

In September, 38 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for making major purchases. Twelve months ago the respective proportion was 53 per cent. Consumption intentions were moderate in September, but many households had plans to spend money on, for instance, travel, and home repairs and furnishing during the next six months. Sixteen per cent of households were fairly or very certain to buy a car and seven per cent a dwelling during the next 12 months. In last year’s September the corresponding proportions were 18 and 7 per cent.

The population of the Consumer Survey comprises approximately 4.1 million persons and 2.5 million households in Finland. The size of the sample of the Consumer Survey is 2,200 persons monthly. In September, the non-response rate of the Survey was 34.0 per cent. The non-response rate includes those who refused from the survey or were otherwise prevented from participating as well as those who could not be contacted.

Consumers' views of the economy

  Average 10/1995- Max. 10/1995- Min. 10/1995- 09/2010 08/2011 09/2011 Outlook
A1 Consumer confidence indicator, CCI = (B2+B4+B7+D2)/4 13,2 22,9 -6,5 22,9 5,1 2,3 --
B2 Own economy in 12 months' time (balance) 9,0 14,1 2,3 9,2 5,8 4,5 --
D2 Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months (balance) 37,6 52,2 10,9 48,8 44,7 48,9 +
B4 Finland's economy in 12 months' time (balance) 5,0 25,3 -27,1 25,3 -16,5 -19,0 --
B7 Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time (balance) 1,2 27,6 -51,1 8,5 -13,6 -25,3 --
B8 Own threat of unemployment now (balance) 1,1 7,6 -18,8 6,3 1,6 -0,2 +/-
B6 Inflation in 12 months' time (per cent) 2,2 4,6 0,6 2,6 3,1 3,2  
C1 Favourability of time for buying durable goods (balance) 20,9 41,8 -14,2 30,1 8,4 4,2 --
C2 Favourability of time for saving (balance) 11,5 36,8 -19,6 19,2 20,6 19,2 +
C3 Favourability of time for raising a loan (balance) 18,0 42,0 -47,1 26,7 -4,4 -2,2 --

The balance figures are obtained by deducting the weighted proportion of negative answers from that of positive answers. The consumer confidence indicator is the average of the balance figures for the CCI components. The balance figures and the confidence indicator can range between -100 and +100 – the higher (positive) balance figure, the brighter the view on the economy.

Explanations for Outlook column: ++ Outlook is very good, + Outlook is good, +/- Outlook is neutral, - Outlook is poor, -- Outlook is very poor. Deviation of balance from average has been compared to standard deviation.

The (seasonally adjusted) Consumer Survey results for all EU countries will be later released on the European Commission website: European Commission, DG ECFIN, Business and Consumer Survey Results;

Source: Consumer Survey 2011, September. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Pertti Kangassalo (09) 1734 3598,

Director in charge: Ari Tyrkkö

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Updated 27.9.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Consumer Confidence [e-publication].
ISSN=2669-8889. September 2011. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 7.12.2023].
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