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Latest publication: Consumer Confidence 2020, March

Published: 29 December 2008

Consumers have gloomy expectations on the country's economy and unemployment

Consumers' confidence in the economy weakened further in December. The consumer confidence indicator stood at -6.5 in December whereas in November it was -4.5 and in October -0.2. Prior to the past few months, confidence in the economy was last negative during the years of the recession of the early 1990s. The data are based on Statistics Finland's Consumer Survey, for which 1,470 people resident in Finland were interviewed between 1 and 16 December.

Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, only expectations concerning saving possibilities improved in December from the previous month. The already gloomy view of the development of unemployment continued to worsen clearly. Expectations concerning unemployment and Finland's economy were at their lowest in the history of the Consumer Survey, in other words since 1987. By contrast, consumers still expressed a little optimism in respect of their own economic situation and continued to asses their own financial situation and saving possibilities as good. However, fear of personal unemployment was increasing in December. Consumers predicted a clearly lower inflation rate for the next 12 months in December than in the months before.

Consumer views on the economic and financial conditions in Finland in December 2008, balances*

Consumer confidence indicator (CCI) 13.4 21.8 -6.5 14.0 -4.5 -6.5 - -
CCI components:              
Own economic situation
in 12 months' time
9.3 14.1 2.3 10.4 3.1 3.2 - -
Households' saving possibilities
in the next 12 months
35.6 52.0 10.9 49.0 44.8 49.0 ++
Finland's economic situation
in 12 months time
4.2 21.7 -27.1 -8.7 -22.9 -27.1 - -
Finland's unemployment situation
in 12 months time
4.5 27.6 -51.1 5.3 -42.9 -51.1 - -
in 12 months' time, per cent
2.2 4.6 0.7 3.4 2.7 2.1  
Own threat of unemployment
at present
3.9 7.6 -10.7 4.4 -6.9 -10.7 - -
Financial situation of household
at present
26.4 35.1 14.7 33.3 31.9 31.3 +
Favourable time to make major purchases
at present
19.7 37.7 -14.2 13.7 -12.8 -7.7 - -
Favourable time to save
at present
10.9 36.8 -19.6 35.1 27.8 25.6 ++
Favourable time to raise a loan
at present
18.4 42.0 -47.1 -6.5 -39.3 -27.8 - -
* 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 the balance figure, the brighter the view on the economy.
** ++ Situation is very good, + Situation is good, - Situation is bad, - - Situation is very bad. Deviation of balance from average has been compared to standard deviation.

Only 16 per cent of consumers believed in December that Finland's economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while as many as 57 per cent of them thought that the country's economy would deteriorate. Twelve months earlier the corresponding proportions were 17 and 34 per cent. In all, 21 per cent of consumers believed in December that their own economy would improve and 16 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year. One year ago the corresponding proportions were 31 and 13 per cent.

Only 6 per cent of consumers thought in December that unemployment would decrease over the year, while as many as 83 per cent of them believed it would increase. Twelve months earlier the respective shares were 38 and 27 per cent. Just 7 per cent of employed persons believed in December that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened over the past few months whereas 23 per cent thought it had grown. Twelve months earlier the respective proportions were 14 and 11 per cent. In December, 46 per cent of employed persons thought the threat had remained unchanged and 23 per cent felt that they were not threatened by unemployment at all.

Consumers predicted in December that consumer prices would go up by 2.1 per cent over the next 12 months. One year ago the respective figure was 3.4 per cent, while at its highest in June this year it stood at 4.6 per cent. The long-term predicted average inflation rate is 2.2 per cent.

In December, 70 per cent of consumers considered saving worthwhile. Sixty-five per cent of households had been able to lay aside some money and as many as 81 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months. In December, 27 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. In November, the respective share was smaller, or 18 per cent, but one year ago it was 43 per cent. In December, 11 per cent of households were planning to take out a loan within one year.

In December, 35 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for buying durable goods. Twelve months ago the respective proportion was 44 per cent. Indeed, households' intentions to spend money were moderate in December, although many of them had plans to, for instance, do dwelling renovations and purchase home technology during the next six months. In the next twelve months, 14 per cent of households were fairly or very certain to buy a car and 7 per cent a dwelling. In last year's December the corresponding proportions were 18 and 8 per cent.

Consumer confidence indicator (CCI) 10/1995-12/2008


Consumers' micro and macro indicators 10/1995-12/2008*

* Micro indicator is the average of three balances: own economy and household's saving possibilities in 12 months' time, and household's financial situation at present.
Macro indicator is the average of two balances: Finland's economy and unemployment in 12 months' time.

Deviation of CCI from country average in EU member states, November 2008

* Calculated from seasonally adjusted series. Average 10/1995-. Data for Ireland missing.
Source: European Commission. DG ECFIN. Business and Consumer Survey Results. November 2008

Source: Consumer Survey 2008, December. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Mr Pertti Kangassalo +358 9 1734 3598,kuluttaja.barometri@stat.fi

Director in charge: Mr Ari Tyrkkö


Tables in databases

Last updated 29.12.2008

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Consumer Confidence [e-publication].
ISSN=2669-8889. December 2008. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 10.4.2020].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kbar/2008/12/kbar_2008_12_2008-12-29_tie_001_en.html