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Published: 27 December 2012

Consumers believe in their saving possibilities

Consumers’ confidence in the economy continued to strengthen slightly. The consumer confidence indicator stood at 3.5 in December whereas in November it was 1.0 and in October -1.6. Confidence in the economy was slightly higher than one year ago in December (0.4) but clearly below the long-term average (12.6). The data are based on Statistics Finland’s Consumer Survey, for which 1,365 people resident in Finland were interviewed between 3 and 17 December.

Consumer confidence indicator (CCI)

Consumer confidence indicator (CCI)

Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, only consumers' already bright assessments about their own saving possibilities improved significantly in December from the previous month. In addition, views on development of employment in Finland were less pessimistic than before. Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy remained unchanged in December, the former cautious and the latter gloomy.

Employed consumers felt some personal threat of unemployment in December. In addition, consumers thought in December that the time was more favourable for saving than for raising a loan or buying durable goods.

Consumers' own and Finland's economy

In December, 23 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 40 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. In last year’s December, the corresponding proportions were 14 and 51 per cent.

In all, 24 per cent of consumers believed in December that their own economy would improve and 17 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year.

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

Unemployment and inflation

In December, 11 per cent of consumers expected that unemployment would decrease in Finland over the next 12 months, while 61 per cent of them believed it would increase. The corresponding proportions were 9 and 68 per cent in November and 11 and 63 per cent one year ago.

In December, 10 per cent of employed persons believed that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened over the past few months, whereas 21 per cent thought it had grown. Nearly half (47%) of employed persons thought the threat of unemployment had remained unchanged and one-fifth (22%) felt that they were not threatened by unemployment at all.

Consumers predicted in December that consumer prices would go up by 3.1 per cent over the next 12 months. The long-term predicted average inflation rate is 2.2 per cent.

Saving and taking out a loan

In December, 57 per cent of consumers considered the time favourable for saving. Twelve months ago, the respective proportion was 65 per cent. Two out of three households (66%) had been able to lay aside some money in December and four out of five (81%) believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months. The latter proportion was 78 per cent in November.

In December, 56 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. One month ago, the respective proportion was 62 per cent and one year ago, 40 per cent. In December, slightly fewer households than usual, or 11 per cent of them, were planning to raise a loan within one year.

Buying of durable goods

Thirty-six per cent of consumers considered the time favourable for buying durable goods in December. As many (36%) regarded consuming as a bad idea. Despite moderate consumption intentions, 16 per cent of households were fairly or very certain to buy a car and seven per cent a dwelling in the next twelve months. In December, 19 per cent of households were planning to make renovations to their dwelling.

Consumers' views of the economy

  Average 10/1995- Max. 10/1995- Min. 10/1995- 12/2011 11/2012 12/2012 Outlook
A1 Consumer confidence indicator, CCI = (B2+B4+B7+D2)/4 12,6 22,9 -6,5 0,4 1,0 3,5 --
B2 Own economy in 12 months' time (balance) 8,7 14,1 2,3 4,6 4,6 4,4 --
B4 Finland's economy in 12 months' time (balance) 3,8 25,3 -27,1 -22,0 -10,1 -11,4 --
B6 Inflation in 12 months' time (per cent) 2,2 4,6 0,6 3,1 3,2 3,1  
B7 Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time (balance) -0,6 27,6 -51,1 -29,9 -34,5 -28,1 --
B8 Own threat of unemployment now (balance) 0,6 7,6 -18,8 -6,9 -6,6 -5,8 -
C1 Favourability of time for purchasing durables (balance) 19,8 41,8 -14,2 -0,0 5,0 0,1 --
C2 Favourability of time for saving (balance) 11,7 36,8 -19,6 20,1 9,4 10,1 +/-
C3 Favourability of time for raising a loan (balance) 17,4 42,0 -47,1 -10,7 17,5 9,7 -
D2 Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months (balance) 38,3 52,2 10,9 48,9 43,9 49,0 +

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 population and sample of the Survey

The population of the Consumer Survey comprises 4.4 million persons aged 15 to 84 and their 2.6 million households in Finland. The population was extended to persons aged 75 to 84 starting from January 2012. The gross size of the monthly sample of the Survey is 2,350 persons (previously 2,200 persons).

In December, the non-response rate of the Survey was 41.9 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.

The extension of the population, that is, responses from persons aged 75 to 84, is estimated to have weakened the value of the consumer confidence indicator by good one unit starting from January 2012.

EU results

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

Source: Consumer Survey 2012, December. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Pertti Kangassalo 09 1734 3598, Tara Junes 09 1734 3503,

Director in charge: Riitta Harala

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Updated 27.12.2012

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Consumer Confidence [e-publication].
ISSN=2669-8889. December 2012. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 11.12.2023].
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