After several months of incremental improvements, Consumer Confidence Index dropped 4.1 points in August 2015, to reach a new historical minimum of -38.4 points. Interestingly, this entire drop was driven by older respondents (aged over 35).
Both components of the CCI moved in tandem. The Present Situation Index reached -46.9 points (losing 4.2 points), while the Expectations Index reached a record low of -30.0 points (a drop of 3.9 points). The gap between the two indices remained more or less intact.
August 2015 began in a quiet fashion, but ended with an acrimonious political debate amid yet another wave of currency depreciation. The survey was conducted in the second half of August (17-27), and its results are likely to reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the GEL continuing to lose in value against the US dollar (GEL fell by roughly 10 tetri in 10 days, reaching a record low of 2.4161). Respondents’ growing sense of frustration with the currency and incessant political bickering affected their responses to all survey questions. Interestingly, however, consumer sentiment dynamics were quite different for people of different ages. Those above 35 have seen their level of confidence declining, whereas younger respondents reported slightly greater confidence. However small, this improvement in younger consumers’ confidence conforms to a longer-term positive trend we have been observing since February 2015.
Considering the entire population sample, the setback in consumer confidence was mainly driven by responses to two questions about: (i) the financial status of the household (the share of those reporting a significant worsening increased to 31.2% from 22.9% in July); (ii) spending expectations (the share of those expecting to spend less over the next 12 months increased to 71% from 61% a month earlier).
REGIONAL AND AGE-RELATED PECULIARITIES
The overall CCI currently stands at an identical (low) level of -38.4 points in Tbilisi and rest-of-Georgia (RoG). In both July and August 2015, the fall in CCI was very similar in Tbilisi and RoG. Interestingly, however, while expectations are the primary driver of CCI decrease in Tbilisi, in RoG people are more concerned with their present situation.
|The Present Situation Index||-43.6 (down by 2.1 points)||-48.5 (down by 5.1 points)|
|The Expectations Index||-33.2 (down by 5.7 points)||-28.4 (down by 3.1 points)|
Tbilisi: consumers are mainly concerned about future prices, a worsening in unemployment and the general economic situation.
- The share of those expecting the general economic situation to get a lot worse grew to 23.3% from 14.7% in July.
- The share of those expecting prices to increase a lot in the coming 12 months grew to 69% from 63.6% in July.
- The share of those expecting a sharp increase in unemployment grew to 32.8% from 20.9% in July.
Rest-of-Georgia (RoG): the primary concern is the past changes in the financial position of households and the general economic situation in the country.
- The share of those saying that their household’s financial position got a lot worse grew to 31.2% from 22.2% in July.
- The share of those saying that the general economic situation in the country got a lot worse during the past 12 months increased to 35.4% from 26.2% in July.
Age. Probably most interesting feature of CCI dynamics in August 2015 is the opposite movement for different age groups. CCI of the younger population (below 35) climbed to -30.3 points (up by 1.2 points). It is almost 14 points lower (-44.2 points) for people above 35, who suffered a 7.7 point drop in confidence.
The stronger confidence of younger consumers was reflected in their responses to most survey questions, with expectations concerning major purchases and improvement in the general economic situation leading the way:
- The share of those saying that it was a good time for major purchases increased to 31.3% from 26.2% in July.
- The share of those expecting the general economic situation to get better increased to 47.6% from 36.9% in July.
The decline in consumer confidence of older respondents was more or less uniformly reflected in answers to all survey questions.