Global consumer confidence rises

29 October 2009

HONG KONG: Consumer confidence levels around the world are beginning to rise, with popular sentiment in markets ranging from China to the US improving over the last quarter, according to figures published by The Nielsen Company.

Based on a survey of 30,500 people conducted in September and October, the research firm's Global Consumer Confidence Index jumped from the score of 77 points recorded in April to a total of 86 points at present.

Nielsen reported that 45 of the 52 markets it assessed are now displaying higher degrees of optimism, with India, Indonesia and Norway the most confident, and Latvia and Japan the most pessimistic.

Hong Kong posted the largest increase in Q3, up by 14 points compared with the previous quarter, with South Korea registering growth of 13 points, and Australia and New Zealand both boasting double-digit upticks in the same period.

Among the BRICs, Brazil was up by 12 points, a figure that reached 8 points in India, 6 points in China and 4 points in Russia.

Popular perceptions in the US also improved for the first time since early 2007, by four points in all, although Nielsen suggested that this hasn't yet translated into a renewal of "spending confidence."

France and Germany, Europe's two biggest economies, saw their totals leap by seven points and five points respectively, but the index scores generated by nations in Eastern Europe were, on average, ten points lower than in Western Europe.

Overall, Spain posted the largest decline, down by four points, while Japan was off by two points, with these two countries having been hit particularly hard by the financial crisis.

The number of participants who argued their domestic economy was currently in recession fell to 66% in the latest study, down from 71% in April.

Of those adults who still considered their home market to be in a recession, some 26% suggested this situation would have changed for the better in 12 months time.

In China, 87% of respondents said the world's most populous nation was not currently in a slump, with 60% of their counterparts in Hong Kong, Norway and Australia, and around half of Brazilians and Indians, agreeing with this statement when assessing their own economic climate.

James Russo, vp, global consumer insights at The Nielsen Company, said "a nine-point surge in consumer confidence signifies a welcome return to positive territory."

"It really demonstrates that in the last six months, a majority of consumer sentiment across the globe has shifted gears from recession to recovery.  In this economic climate, sentiment is closely correlated to actual sales."

"The majority of consumers in the US and Europe have conceded to a measured economic recovery, but it is recovery nonetheless," he added.

Data sourced from The Nielsen Company/Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff