Jakarta. Rising concerns over religious intolerance have decreased consumers' confidence in the fourth quarter last year, Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions reveals.
According to Nielsen, Indonesia's consumer confidence index in the last quarter of 2016 stood at 120 points, two points less than in the previous quarter.
A reading above 100, however, still indicates a degree of optimism. The survey results also show that Indonesia is among the most optimistic countries after India (136), the Philippines (132) and the United States (123).
"Before the simultaneous regional elections, the blasphemy allegations against Jakarta Governor Ahok [Basuki Tjahaja Purnama], which were followed by 411 [Nov. 4 protest against the governor], significantly affected Indonesian consumers' confidence at the end of the last quarter," Nielsen Indonesia managing director Agus Nurudin said in a statement on Thursday (21/02).
Agus said that both the blasphemy case and the November rally raised concerns over religious tolerance in the country.
According to the survey, 25 percent of the respondents expressed these concerns — they were not present among the top five consumers' worries in the previous quarter.
The consumers were also uneasy about Indonesia's political stability — 25 percent of them were worried, in the previous quarter 13 percent.
Optimism about the future of personal finances decreased to 81 points from 84, the consumers' intention to spend dropped to 59 points from 60 in the previous period.
Indonesian consumers' optimism about job prospects remained stable at 68 points, although more than half of them, up from 47 percent in the previous quarter, believed that the country's economy is in a recession.
From Oct. 31 to Nov. 18, Nielsen collected more than 30,000 online responses of consumers in 63 countries, 500 of the respondents were from Indonesia.