Consumers in mixed mood

08 February 2012

NEW YORK: Consumer confidence levels are growing in North America and Asia Pacific, but sentiment among European shoppers remains in decline, new figures show.

Nielsen, the research firm, surveyed 28,000 adults in 56 countries, and found its regular barometer of popular opinion climbed by one point quarter-on-quarter to 89 points, albeit still below the 100-point benchmark demonstrating improving perceptions.

India led the charts on 122 points, ahead of the Philippines and Indonesia on 117 points apiece. Hungary delivered the lowest score on 30 points, with Portugal on 36 points and Greece on 41 points.

More broadly, totals fell in 35 of the nations assessed, including 24 in Europe, while rising in 12 countries and staying flat in nine.

North America posted the biggest gains at the regional level, growing by five points to 84 points. Asia Pacific recorded a two point lift to 99 points, while Latin America accrued one point to 98 points.

The Middle East and Africa lost one point, taking it to 95 points, and Europe contracted by three points to 71 points.

Within this, the US climbed from 77 points to 83 points, while China's equivalent returns reached 108 points, an expansion on the 104 points logged in the previous research round.

A 52% majority of the sample believed their personal financial situation for this year was either "good" or "excellent", an increase on 50% in the last quarter.

Less favourably, 65% of interviewees "indicated it is not a good time to buy", an uptick of one percentage point over the same period. A 32% share of the panel also reported they had "no spare case".

James Russo, Nielsen's vp, global consumer insights, said: "Over the past year, consumers have been drawing down savings to spend in the absence of real income and wage growth, a situation which will have to change in order for them to boost or even sustain their spending."

A further 64% of shoppers thought their country was in recession, up from 62% in the last quarter. Scores in this area stood at 86% in North America, although this constituted a moderation from 88% quarter on quarter, the only area to see such an improvement.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff