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Consumer confidence delivers hope for Christmas

More good news for SMBs in the lead up to Christmas with a new study showing consumer confidence has significantly increased in recent months. 

Australian consumer confidence has risen by eight points in the past quarter according to the Nielson Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, which measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 internet consumers in 58 countries.

Nielsen Pacific executive director Michael Walton said while it’s too soon to predict the long-term trend there are enough signs pointing to a positive Christmas period, which will be great news for many retailers.

“The previous quarter (Q2) saw a lot of noise in the market around the impact on cost of goods, rising electricity prices and job losses as a result of the Carbon Tax, however these predicted negative impacts never materialised, and with the recent interest rate cuts, consumers appear to be feeling more positive about their prospects overall,” he said.

When asked about their thoughts on their job prospects in the coming 12 months, half of Australians said they were “good” or “excellent”, the same amount felt positive about their personal finances.

Increasing utility bills continue to concern consumers, with electricity, gas and heating prices being a major concern for 40 percent of Australians.

According to Walton, this is the 10th consecutive quarter in which rising utility bills have been the biggest concern.

“Unlike other markets which political stability, welfare and employment far higher on the list of cost of living pressures, in Australia it’s the everyday cost of living pressures that occupy our minds,” he said.

During the past three years electricity prices alone have risen by an average of 35 percent across the country and almost half of all Aussies are opting to put spare cash into savings.

“When not saving, more than 1 in 5 consumers prioritise spending on new clothes, out of home entertainment and technology. With the launch of the new Windows 8 platform, plus a raft of new tablet devices there are good signs for technology retailers,” Walton added.