New Zealanders are significantly more optimistic about the future state of the economy than their Australian counterparts, according to the latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC).
The survey found New Zealanders are more positive in overall outlook in all five areas - economy, employment, regular income, stock market performance and quality of life - than their Australian counterparts.
Respondents were asked five questions on their six-month outlook on the economy, their employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects, and their quality of life.
These results were converted in five component indexes which are averaged to form the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC) score.
The MICC Index score and the five component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.
While Australians confidence increased in the most recent survey, it is still behind that of New Zealanders with Australians confidence ranking at 39.5 overall while confidence of New Zealanders is at 57.7.
Consumer confidence in New Zealand has increased from previous surveys particularly with Auckland residents, men, and younger groups.
MasterCard New Zealand Country Manager Peter Chisnall says the results show New Zealanders feel stable about their income prospects for the next six-months.
“This result, combined with the steady unemployment rate, shows that New Zealanders feel somewhat more secure about the performance of the economy and their future employment prospects than Australians,” Chisnall says.
The latest Labour Market statistics in New Zealand showed the unemployment rate for March 2015 remained at 5.8 percent, unchanged from December 2014.
The most significant gap between New Zealand and Australia was in relation to employment, with New Zealanders confidence at 59.3 and Australia’s at 31.6; a 27.7 point difference.
“The results from our latest research confirm New Zealanders are feeling settled about the labour market and their earnings,” Chisnall adds.
“The way consumer confidence impacts consumer mind-set is in a greater focus on financial planning, and mostly the choice people make between saving and spending.”
Throughout the Asia Pacific, markets remain optimistic - levels of optimism remain stable at 66.1 Index points in H1 2015 compared to 68.3 Index points in H1 2014, and New Zealand remains below the Asia-Pacific average.
“This stability reflects the fact that the most pessimistic markets are showing signs of improvement while the more optimistic are showing decreased confidence and uncertainty,” Chisnall adds.
When compared to the rest of Asia Pacific, New Zealand ranked 12th, while Australia placed last out of the 18 surveyed markets.
Between May and June 2015, 8,718 respondents, aged 18 to 64 in 18 Asia Pacific markets, were asked to give a six-month outlook on five economic factors including the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, the stock market and their quality of life.