Consumer views start to split

06 January 2011

PARIS: Consumer attitudes are diverging markedly in mature and emerging markets, a survey has revealed.

BVA and Gallup International questioned 64,203 people in 53 countries - including Brazil, China, France Germany, India, Russia, the UK and US - to gauge public sentiment worldwide.

Overall, the research stated that respondents could effectively be split into two separate camps: the "confident" in fast-growth economies and "the scared" in more developed regions.

It also argued the word "prosperity" had essentially been "erased" from the popular vocabulary in the latter areas thanks to the recession.

While appraising the financial prospects for 2011, 30% of those polled globally expected an improvement, 36% thought conditions may largely match 2010, and 28% anticipated a decline on this metric.

The net balance between positive and negative opinions about the potential fiscal environment in Brazil, Russia, India and China - collectively known as the BRICs - hit 35 points.

Totals peaked at 61 points in Vietnam, measured against scores of –23 points in Western Europe and –8 points in the United States.

Indeed, 61% of French adults feared the climate would continue to worsen, a perception reaching 52% regarding the UK, 48% among the Spanish panel and 41% in Italy.

Interviewees in Nigeria and Vietnam displayed the greatest buoyancy, as 72% and 70% of contributors in these nations respectively suggested the outlook was good.

Figures stood at 58% in China, although the average across the BRICs constituted a comparatively modest 49%.

However, this still considerably outpaced the 25% generated by North Americans and 15% relating to Western Europe.

When assessing their individual situation, 43% of the worldwide audience believed personal circumstances were in line to get better, 32% agreed things should remain the same and 19% predicted a decline.

A 63% majority of BRIC shoppers foresaw favourable trends, slipping to 45% concerning North America and 26% covering Western Europe.

Some 80% of Nigerians assumed such a viewpoint, as did 73% of Brazilians, falling to 30% of Germans and 15% of French participants.

In terms of the difference between upbeat and downbeat attitudes, the African sample recorded 76 points, a number standing at 54 points in Latin America, 24 points for North America and 23 points in Asia.

Eastern and Central Europe delivered a positive gap of seven points and the Middle East secured six points, but Western Europe posted a zero balance.

Serbia topped the list of gloomy countries, as 51% of residents worried 2011 would see their circumstances deteriorate, a perspective held by 48% of Russians, and over two-thirds of Czechs and Ukrainians.

Data sourced from BVA; additional content by Warc staff