Satisfaction among Swiss consumers remains high

“Consumers in Switzerland: Current Situation and Outlook for 2017” by EY

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  • Satisfaction remains high – sentiment among young consumers more subdued
  • Women more satisfied with financial and economic conditions than men
  • Large majority considers own job secure
  • Vacations worth more money to Swiss consumers

ZURICH, 13 JANUARY 2017 – Swiss consumers remain largely confident regarding their own financial situation in 2017. Of those surveyed, 54% rate their personal financial and economic situation as positive. Only 8% said they were not satisfied, according to the latest EY study, “Consumers in Switzerland: Current Situation and Outlook for 2017”. Results remained largely stable, with satisfaction levels on a par with 2016 and a slight increase of two percentage points in those describing themselves as “not satisfied”.

Sentiment among young consumers has shifted
Among consumers under the age of 35, however, sentiment has darkened considerably. Asked about how they would assess their personal financial and economic situation, only 46% now give a positive answer (2016: 61%). Nearly one in five of those surveyed say they perceive their current situation as negative. This represents a drastic increase from 4% to 18% compared with 2016. A different picture also emerges when comparing the experience of women and men: while 56% of women say they are satisfied, only 7% now take a negative view of their situation (2016: 8%). Among the men surveyed, 52% say they are satisfied, but the share of men who are not satisfied with their situation has doubled from 4% to 8%.

For Martin Gröli, partner and head of Consumer Products & Retail, this high level of dissatisfaction among the younger generation (under-35s) is alarming: “According to these results, many young people are dissatisfied with their current situation, for example with their income or mounting financial challenges. Current insecurities on the global markets also weigh on the sentiment of many Swiss consumers.” Looked at in terms of income bracket, though, the 2017 satisfaction levels are hardly surprising: the higher the income, the higher the proportion of satisfied people.

Cautiously optimistic outlook
Only 17% of consumers surveyed in Switzerland are confident that their personal economic and financial situation will develop positively in 2017, which is on a par with 2016, while 71% don’t expect to see any changes (2016: 72%). The proportion of pessimists increased slightly to 12% (2016: 11%).

Despite many of the younger generation currently finding themselves in a mood of crisis, when asked about future prospects, they continue to take a positive view. Of all the age groups, the under-35s are the most optimistic regarding future economic and financial developments. Nearly one in two (48%) expect that their personal economic situation will improve in 2017, with just 8% anticipating a worsening of their position. The over-65s have a darker outlook on 2017, with 14% expecting their situation to worsen and only 7% expecting an upward trend. “The insecure future of retirement provision is weighing on the minds of the over-65s. The statutory old age and survivors’ pension is barely enough to survive on, and many are struggling to make ends meet even with a pension fund annuity or lump sum,” explains Martin Gröli.

The expectations of Swiss consumers regarding economic developments has not changed much in recent years. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed don’t expect conditions to change, while 14% believe we will see an upturn in the economy. Around one in five expect the Swiss economy to weaken.

Satisfaction with living standards decreases with age
The responses to the question on how living standards have changed over the past 10 years reveal clear differences between the age groups. While around half of all consumers aged 45 and under consider their living standards to have improved, with only around 16% believing them to have deteriorated, as few as one-quarter to one-third of those age 65 and over would agree. One in four of the over-65s describe their current situation as worse than 10 years ago. A comparison between the genders shows that women are markedly more dissatisfied with how their living standards have changed over the last decade than men. One in four women report that their situation has worsened, compared with just 13% of the men surveyed.

Most consider their job to be secure, with 26% of those surveyed rating it as secure and 60% even as very secure. Insecurity has dropped slightly in this area compared with 2016 as 9% perceive their job as being insecure (2016: 13%) and an unchanged 5% as very insecure.

More money for vacations
For many consumers, putting money aside is a priority in 2017. Asked about what they intend to spend money on in 2017, most cited consumer electronics, major individual purchases and investments in their house or apartment. However, nearly one in five also intend to spend more on vacations, with 21% of those surveyed happy to fork out more to recharge their batteries. “Vacations continue to be attractively priced, and Swiss consumers seem as keen on traveling as ever before. They also consider new experiences, variety and something to provide a counterbalance to their working lives as important, and are prepared to spend more money on this,” concludes Martin Gröli. “However, there is a clear trend toward consumers wanting to budget very cautiously in 2017.”

About the study
The study is based on a survey of 500 consumers in Switzerland over the age of 18. The survey was conducted by an independent market research institution on behalf of EY. Phone interviews have been conducted at the end of every year since 2009.


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