Consumer Confidence and Intention to Save During COVID-19 in Malaysia
Nor Asmat Ismail
School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
This study compares gender, ethnicity, age, and income groups to the consumer confidence index in Malaysia during the period of COVID-19. Despite the widespread concern about consumer behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) measurement using micro-data has gained less publicity. This study aims to look at the four facets of consumer confidence: current personal finances (CPF), expected personal finances (EPF), current economic conditions (CEC), and buying conditions (BC). This study explores the correlation between consumer confidence and willingness to save for future consumption. Simultaneously, this study determines if the pandemic has shifted consumer behaviour towards precautionary savings. An online survey was done to collect data from 681 Malaysians, and the data were quantitatively evaluated using a statistical software package known as SPSS. The findings indicate people are less confident in current personal finance (CPF) than in the other three dimensions, with females being less confident than men, M40 being less confident than B40, and Malay being less confident than other races. This study discovers that Malay ethnic groups are 3.49 times more likely to have the intention to save than other ethnic groups. B40 households are 1.294 times more likely to save than other income groups. Consumers with less confidence in their buying condition are 0.689 times more likely to have the intention to save. Consumers who lack confidence in their finances are 0.613 times more likely to save. In contrast to others, a consumer who is less confident in the present economic climate is 0.306 more likely to have the intention to save. The findings suggest that government financial help is essential to instil consumer confidence in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, justifying financial aid programmes targeted at B40 families, small enterprises, and job creation.
Keywords: COVID-19, Consumer confidence, Precautionary saving, Malaysia