Last updated 18/06/2020 - 07:57
Consumer confidence in the economy declined rapidly early in the year
At the beginning of last year, consumers still had a fairly stable confidence in a positive economic development. However, beginning in summer 2019 the confidence has eroded rapidly. Figures of the Consumer Survey dropped to slightly negative already late in 2019 and this year the decline has sharpened both in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and the entire country. In April 2020, the balance figure of the Consumer Survey by Statistics Finland was -10.7 in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The corresponding figure for the previous year was 17.0 and two years ago 26.6.
The coronavirus crisis has considerably eroded consumers’ confidence in the economy. In January–April 2020 the indicator for confidence has declined approximately three points per month. Despite the downward trend, confidence in the economy is still slightly higher in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area compared to the rest of the country.
Statistics Finland renewed the data collection method of the consumer confidence indicator in May 2019, and the figures are therefore not comparable with previous figures. The age categories of interviewees were altered a little bit and the sample size was reduced somewhat. The data content is also more limited, and all questions now concern the person themselves, not their household. The components of the new confidence indicator are: the consumer’s own current finances, the consumer’s own finances in 12 months, Finland’s economy in 12 months and the consumer’s spending on consumer durables in the next 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.
Macro and micro indicators – Confidence in personal finances and national economy increased slightly
In April, the macro indicator, which describes consumer expectations concerning the development of the entire country’s employment and economic situation, was -40.2 in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The figure is down nearly 40 points compared to a year ago and 30 points from the turn of the year. This is the lowest the indicator has been in at least 15 years and is even lower than during the financial crisis (-38). In other words, consumers have very low expectations concerning Finland’s general economic development. However, consumers still have fairly bright expectations regarding their own finances. The micro indicator which describes the respondents’ personal finances and personal saving possibilities received a value of 22.3 in April 2020 when one year prior it was 32.6.
The figures prior to May 2019 are not comparable with later figures due to the number of interviewees and their age as well as renewals of the interview methods.