I have this hunch that we are spending less in this dreary economic climate. My suspicion was borne out when the Department of Statistics of Singapore released its December Retail Sales Index.
Compared to December 2013, retail sales (excluding motor vehicles) decreased 3.2% in December 2014 (y-o-y change). When compared with November 2014, the seasonally adjusted retail sales (excluding motor vehicles) decreased 3.3%.
Where were the major declines in retail sales (y-o-y)?
1. Wearing apparel and footwear -7.9%
2. Recreational goods -7.8%
3. Optical goods and books -6.3%
4. Furniture and household equipment -5.3%
From the look of it, all above items are discretionary types of spending and can be tightened if one is to conserve cash.
December month is a typical month when year-end bonuses are declared or paid out by corporations and civil service. It is also a Christmas shopping period and yet people were tightening their purse strings in December 2014. This boils down to uncertainties in the economy and indirectly affecting confidence in the job markets.