No Change in Weak Consumer Confidence

Bern, 06.11.2012 - The consumer confidence survey conducted by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs shows that there was no further deterioration in confidence between July and October 2012. The index* persisted at a slightly lower than average level of -17 points. Whilst future economic development is assessed as having remained virtually unchanged compared with July, households still expected a further rise in unemployment. By contrast, they were slightly more optimistic about their own savings opportunities.

Of the four sub-indices which are included in the calculation of the consumer confidence index**, two showed a significant change between July and October 2012. The expectations for the labour market have clouded over further: households anticipate a further rise in unemployment over the coming months (+67 points in October compared with +62 in July). By contrast however the savings possibilities for the months ahead were assessed as more favourable (+25 points in October compared with +15 in July). There was essentially no change in the other two questions which are also included in the overall index. This applies both to the assessment of future economic development (-23 points in October compared with -20 in July) as well as to the assessment regarding their personal financial situation (-2 points in October compared with -3 in July).

There were also no significant changes identified between July and October in many of the remaining sub-indices in the survey which are not included for the purpose of calculating the overall index. The assessment of the past economic development (over the last twelve months) persisted close to the historic mean value (-22 points in October compared with -24 in July). In addition, the assessment of job security remained unchanged over July (-71 points in October compared with -72 in July) and was clearly below the historic average value (approx. -55 points). The attitude towards the timing of larger purchases such as household appliances, furniture or cars, also remained virtually unchanged between July and October (-1 point in October compared with -2 in July).

Slightly more significant changes are observed primarily in the appreciation of inflation. Domestic households increased their assessment of inflation over the last twelve months (+32 points in October compared with +22 in July) as well as the expectations for inflation over the next twelve months (+39 points compared with +32). However, even these slightly higher levels are still markedly below the long-term mean values. The historically lowest values for the assessment of inflation since 1972 were reached at the beginning of 2009 (expectations of inflation) and end 2011 (past inflation).


* In the months of January, April, July and October, about 1’100 households are surveyed on behalf of SECO  regarding their subjective evaluation of the economic situation, budget situation, inflation, job security etc.

** Two additional questions were included in the survey in October 2009. One is a question regarding unemployment expectations and another is a question about the ability of house-holds to save in the future. The new questions help in calculating a new, official, more EU compatible consumer confidence index for Switzerland. The three new quarterly series begin first in April 2007 (see technical notes «Extension of current survey» dated November 4, 2009 at: http://www.seco.admin.ch/themen/00374/00453/index.html?lang=en.


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Last modification 28.01.2021

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