Rising prices dampen Swiss consumer sentiment

Consumer sentiment has weakened according to the January survey. On the one hand, the outlook for the general economy is assessed less positively. On the other hand, rising prices are increasingly weighing on the propensity to buy.

After two very positive quarters, the consumer sentiment index (−4 points) in January 2022 has fallen back to the range of the long-term average (−5 points).

Swiss households are significantly less optimistic about economic prospects over the next 12 months. At 21 points, however, the corresponding sub-index value is still clearly above the long-term average (−9 points), so respondents continue to expect the economic recovery to continue. Furthermore, the situation on the labour market is also perceived as favourable: the sub-index on job security has once again noticeably improved and, at −59 points, is back in the range of the long-term average for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Unemployment figures are also expected to continue to develop favourably over the next 12 months.

Despite the generally positive outlook, consumers expect a slightly below-average development of the financial situation over the coming 12 months (−3 points). The past financial situation is also assessed as below average: the corresponding sub-index value stands at −10 points. This assessment is probably due in particular to higher consumer prices, which are reducing the purchasing power of Swiss households. The past price trend (83 points) is estimated to be even higher than in October 2021 (70 points). Respondents also expect consumer prices to rise over the next 12 months. At 93 points, the corresponding sub-index value is now significantly above the long-term average (67 points).

Price developments are also likely to contribute to consumers’ reluctance to make major purchases. At −23 points, the sub-index value remains noticeably below the pre-crisis level and the long-term average of −7 points.