Asia tops confidence charts

24 May 2011

NEW DELHI: Consumer confidence levels are highest in Asian markets such as India, Indonesia and China, a new global study has found.

Research firm The Nielsen Company surveyed 28,000 web users in 51 countries, and reported that its barometer of popular sentiment stood at 92 points overall, a two point jump quarter on quarter.

Asia Pacific experienced a ten point uptick, hitting 107 points, as totals reached 131 points in India, 116 points among Indonesians, 110 across Australia and the Philippines, and 109 points when discussing Singapore.

China registered 108 points, while Hong Kong provided 107 points, meaning Asia Pacific contributed seven of the top ten on this metric.

"The good news is that income is rising faster than inflation, particularly in rural areas, and living standards continue to improve," said Karthik Rao, managing director, Nielsen Greater China.

"As a result, we continue to see strong growth in marketplace demand, even in discretionary categories."

Despite political instability in several nations, the Middle East and Africa enjoyed a 17 point surge, achieving 106 points, incorporating 118 points from Saudi Arabia and 108 points for the United Arab Emirates.

Switzerland was the most positive European country assessed, logging 110 points, but the regional average dipped by five points, to 73 points.

Nine of the ten areas yielding the lowest figures were from the same continent, as Portugal posted 39 points, Hungary delivered 41 points and Greece generated 45 points.

Romania, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Ukraine and France also all came in well below the international norm, The Nielsen Company said.

More broadly, 48% of respondents asserted the recession had not yet come to an end, measured against 24% believing the financial crisis was over.

The latter perception proved strongest in Asia Pacific, recording 63%, and 48% of shoppers in this region expected to spend discretionary funds on holidays during the next six months.

A further 44% supported such a statement concerning apparel, as did 41% with reference to entertainment and 38% for new technology.

However, 62% intended to put any spare money into savings, and just 37% took the view now is a "good" or "excellent" time to "buy things you want and need".

Although Canadian participants supplied a three point lift on a quarterly basis, securing 102 points, and their US counterparts saw a two point gain, attaining 83 points, various coping strategies remain widespread in North America.

Indeed, 60% of interviewees had cut expenditure on entertainment and out-of-home dining, 60% followed the parallel approach relating to clothes, and 56% opted to trade down when making grocery purchases.

Moreover, 62% perceived the current climate as a bad moment to consider acquiring goods, the study showed.

"Planning of shopping trips is very evident as 60% of US shoppers are using shopping lists on most trips, 52% are comparing unit prices, 47% are using store circulars and 41% are using coupons," continued Todd Hale, svp, consumer and shopper insights, for Nielsen's US arm.

Similar attitudes pervaded in Europe, where 62% of those polled had trimmed their outlay on apparel, and 57% both switched to low-cost grocery lines and reduced out-of-home entertainment expenses.

Latin America's regional score contracted by ten points, to 90 points, not least due to a 13 point slide in Brazil, alongside declines from Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.

Data sourced from The Nielsen Company; additional content by Warc staff