The confidence of Costa Rican consumers reached its highest point since May 2014 last February, reported this Wednesday the School of Statistics of the University of Costa Rica (UCR). The result comes from the I Consumer Survey 2023, prepared by the Statistical Services Unit of the UCR.
According to the results, the Consumer Confidence Index (ICC) grew consecutively and increased from 44.0 points in November to 47.8 in February 2023, reaching the best score since May 2014. “With this As a result, the irregular behavior that this index maintained during the harshest years of the pandemic seems to be behind us,” said researcher Fernanda Alvarado.
In total, 717 people over the age of 18 from all over the country and with cell phones were interviewed. The survey was conducted between February 2nd and 15th of the current year. The sampling error is ±1.8 points for the ICC and ±3.7 points for percentages, with a confidence level of 95%.
According to the survey report, there are several reasons for this substantial improvement. The first is the reduction in inflation, which has been eroded in recent months, mainly thanks to the drop in the exchange rate of the colon against the dollar, and the second, the drop in the price of gasoline.
In addition, according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) published on March 2, unemployment also fell year-on-year: some 31,000 people managed to find a job between the beginning of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, with Consequently, the unemployment rate also dropped slightly again and now stands at 11.8%. “This factor causes the population with purchasing power to increase and, therefore, there is a better outlook for consumption”, the survey report indicates.
Despite the increase, the national economy has not yet acquired a perception of stability from the population, which is certified from 50 points in this measurement.
Being more optimistic or “ambivalent”?
Most people continue to perceive themselves as neither pessimistic nor optimistic (defined as ambivalent), as they add up to 55.4%, 3.3 percentage points more than in November. Another percentage that also increased, as expected according to the ICC, is that of optimistic consumers, which went from 21.3% in November 2022 to 25.2% in February 2023 (increase of 3.9 points). In contrast, pessimistic individuals fell again and went from 26.7% at the end of last year to 19.4% in this latest measurement (-7.3 points).
If these data are disaggregated by sex, it can be seen that women, with 43.6 points, continue to have less confidence in their consumption than men, who registered 52.6 points (an increase of 5.2 points compared to the 47, on November 3rd, 2023). And if age is considered, the people with the greatest increase in their expectations are those between 35 and 49 years old, where their ICC rose from 43.5 to 48.7 points in February.
By educational level, those who show the best ICC are people with high school studies, with 51.1 points (+3.2 points compared to November), and with a similar score those who have university studies (51.0, stable compared to November). Those with primary school studies also improved their index, reaching 42.4 points (+4.9).
As is to be expected, the population that earns more than 500,000 colones has a better ICC (55.5) than those who report wages below that figure (42.1). However, it should be noted that this last group improved their perception compared to the previous survey (+4.2 points).