Consumer sentiment in Switzerland in April 2020 reached a historic low. The coronavirus has dampened expectations for general economic development and employment and the population is bracing itself for tough financial times, according to the survey.
Swiss consumer sentiment fell from −9 points in January 2020 to −39 points in April 2020, a level well below the level seen in the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
The only other time consumer sentiment was this low in Switzerland was in the early 1990s in the wake of the real estate crisis, when the Swiss economy suffered a prolonged recession and a dramatic rise in unemployment.
The overall consumer sentiment index (-39.3) combines four measures: expected economic development (-78.3), past financial situation (-7.2), expected financial situation (-23.6) and major purchases (-48.0).
Expected economic development (-78.3) covers respondents’ views on job prospects and the economy. Past financial situation (-7.2), which has risen to a level in line with the long term average, suggests people feel fairly positive about their current financial situation. However, steep declines in expected financial situation (-23.6) and major purchases (-48.0) indices suggest Swiss consumers are tightening their belts and planning to spend less going forward.
Uncertainty is high and the economy is expected to develop unfavourably. In addition, shop closures have severely restricted purchasing opportunities.