Global consumer confidence improves

04 June 2009

NEW YORK: Global consumer confidence is starting to improve, but spending levels do not appear to be matching this trend as yet, according to a survey from Reuters and Ipsos conducted in 23 different markets around the world.

The two organisations polled a total of 23,000 adults in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and US.

Overall, they found that confidence levels in America increased by two percentage points, to 13%, when compared to the total of 11% that was recorded in a similar study carried out in November 2008.

China also registered an upturn of 15% on this measure, to 61%, while India enjoyed growth of five percentage points, to 70%, in all.

By contrast, consumers in Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, have grown more pessimistic, as their net total dropped by 5% to 56%, while their counterparts in Russia reported an even more substantial slide, from 52% to 35%.

Similarly, across Europe, the confidence index declined by nine percentage points, to 23%, when compared with the figures from late last year.

According to the research carried out by Reuters and Ipsos, consumers have also continued to cut their expenditure, with nearly 75% reducing their outlay on entertainment, holidays and luxury goods.

A further 61% of participants reported that they had pegged back their spending on apparel, with energy consumption and gasoline/driving among the other areas witnessing a slowdown in activity.

Clifford Young, of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, argued that "what we're seeing is that consumers for the most part have been scared, they have cut expenditures and increased savings."

However, he added that it “looks like we have hit bottom and so there are glimmers of hope," and while "the uptick won't be as fast as the decline ... if the United States is stabilized that's really important in the global sense."

Data sourced from Reuters; additional content by WARC staff