Global Consumer Confidence Measures at 94 in Q2 2013
55 Percent of Global Consumers Surveyed Believe They Were in a Recession in
Q2, the Lowest Level in Two Years
Discretionary Spending Intentions Increase Around the World in Q2
NEW YORK -- July 23, 2013
Global consumer confidence indexed at 94 in Q2 2013, a one-point increase from
Q1 2013 and an increase of three points from Q2 2012, according to consumer
confidence findings from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and
insights into what consumers watch and buy.
"While confidence in Europe remained in a holding pattern as financial
conditions stabilized, perceptions about jobs, personal finances and spending
intentions increased in the world’s three largest economies—U.S., China and
Japan—which is having a beneficial effect around the world,” said Dr.
Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen.
“However, concerns remain that macroeconomic events, such as too sharp a rise
in interest rates, can impair the consumer recovery, including lowering the
demand for home purchases and spending on big-ticket items.”
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions,
established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and
spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access^1
in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100
indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. In the latest round of the survey,
conducted between May 13 and May 31, 2013, consumer confidence rose in 45
percent of global markets measured by Nielsen, compared to 60 percent in the
Improved Recessionary Mindset
While more than half (55%) of global respondents believed they were in a
recession in the second quarter, it was the lowest level reported in two years
(since Q1 2011). North Americans reported the biggest quarterly recessionary
mindset decline of six percentage points to 69 percent, the lowest level since
Q3 2007 or before the Great Recession.
“The improved recessionary sentiment among North Americans was driven by
positive macro-economic developments in the U.S.,” said Dr. Bala. Seventy-two
percent of U.S. respondents said they were in a recession—a five percentage
point improvement from Q1 and a 15-percentage point change from a five-year
average (2008–2012), when 87 percent of Americans said they felt they were in
a recession. Concern about the U.S. economy also reported a marked decline of
eight percentage points among American respondents in the second quarter,
dropping to 19 percent.
“There is increasing evidence that the U.S. economy is improving,” said James
Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen. “While the
unemployment rate is trending steadily downward to the current 7.6 percent,
the biggest drivers of change include the record gains in equity markets and
the housing rebound, which are clearly impacting household wealth and spending
Nielsen information showed second quarter recessionary sentiment declines in
the Middle East/Africa, which dropped four percentage points to 73 percent; in
Europe, which fell two points to 74 percent; and in Asia-Pacific, which
declined one percentage point to 40 percent. In Latin America, 56 percent of
respondents said they believed they were in a recession, an increase of six
percentage points since Q1 2013.
More Spare Cash, More Spending
On average, discretionary spending intentions for new clothes,
holidays/vacations, out-of-home entertainment, and new technology products
increased around the world in the second quarter. Forty-seven percent of
global respondents saved their spare cash, 19 percent invested and 11 percent
saved for retirement. Globally, 14 percent said they had no spare cash, a
decrease from 15 percent reported in Q1 2013 and Q2 2012.
According to Nielsen’s survey, respondents in Asia-Pacific reported the most
significant quarterly spending increase (up four percentage points) on
holidays/vacations (43%), new clothes (39%), out-of-home entertainment (38%)
and new technology products (34%). Respondents in Asia-Pacific also saved the
most, compared to respondents in other regions, with 61 percent putting money
into savings accounts and one-third (32%) investing in shares of stocks and
In the Middle East/Africa region, discretionary spending intentions for
out-of-home entertainment (21%) and holidays/vacations (18%) increased in the
second quarter four and five percentage points, respectively. Marginal
spending increases (up one percentage point) for clothing, technology,
decorating and vacations were reported in Latin America compared to the
previous quarter. Saving and spending intentions among European respondents
remained flat in the second quarter.
Consumer confidence increases were reported in Asia-Pacific (up two points to
105), North America (up two points to 96) and Middle East/Africa (up six
points to 91), compared to the previous quarter. Europe’s consumer confidence
index remained flat at 71 for three consecutive quarters and Latin America’s
confidence declined one index point to 93 in Q2.
In key economies, consumer confidence increased three points in the United
States (96), increased two points in China (110), increased five points in
Japan (78) and remained flat in Germany (90). Indonesia reported the highest
index at 124, a two-point increase over Q1. Portugal reported the lowest index
at 33, flat with Q1. Nine of the 58 countries in the survey reported a
confidence index above the baseline level of 100.
Consumer confidence declined in 14 of 29 European markets, and the region
included nine of the bottom 10 consumer confidence index scores, including
Hungary, Italy, France, Greece and Spain. Confidence increased in thirteen
European markets, including the United Kingdom, up four index points to 79.
Overall confidence in Asia-Pacific remained high, with seven markets reporting
indexes above the 100 baseline. In addition to China’s increase, Indonesia
(124) and the Philippines (121) reported increases in the second quarter of
two and three points, respectively. India (118), Thailand (114), Hong Kong
(107), and Malaysia (103) declined two, one, one, and four index point(s),
Consumer confidence in Latin America decreased for the second consecutive
quarter, declining one index point from Q1 2013 to a score of 93. Brazil led
the region with the highest index of 110, which decreased two points in the
second quarter. Peru (99) and Colombia (87) reported increases while Venezuela
(68) reported declines for three consecutive quarters, and Chile (94),
Argentina (68), and Mexico (84) each declined for the second straight quarter.
Consumer confidence increased in four of six Middle East/Africa markets, as
Pakistan (98) reported the biggest three-month increase of 11 index points,
followed by a rise of four points in Saudi Arabia (100), three points in Egypt
(77) and South Africa (81). Confidence declines were reported in United Arab
Emirates (107) and Israel (83), which declined one and eight points,
In North America, while the U.S. saw an increase in consumer confidence,
Canada declined four points to an index of 98.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was
conducted between May 13–31, 2013, and polled more than 29,000 online
consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the
Middle East, Africa, and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and
sex for each country based on their Internet users, is weighted to be
representative of Internet consumers, and has a maximum margin of error of
±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online
access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a
minimum reporting standard of 60-percent Internet penetration or 10M online
population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is
compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in
China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer
Confidence Index, was established in 2005.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement
company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information,
television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile
measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with
headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more
information, visit www.nielsen.com.
^1 While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global
reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not
total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not
reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than
the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are
based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.
Jennifer Frighetto, 847-605-5686
Elizabeth Wolf, 646-654-5825
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