SINGAPORE: Consumers in Asia Pacific were more optimistic than their counterparts in other regions during the third quarter of 2012, according to a new global survey from Nielsen.

The research firm's latest Consumer Confidence Index, covering the third quarter of 2012, gave Asia Pacific an index score of 100, exactly the same result as the previous quarter. Globally, the index returned a reading of 92, up from 91 in the second quarter.

Europe was the lowest-performing region on 74, while the North American index reached 91, Latin America 94 and the Middle East and Africa 98.

Within Asia Pacific, India and Indonesia were the most optimistic countries, on 119 points, while China, the region's biggest economy, was on 106. But consumers were much gloomier in Japan (59 points) and Korea (40 points). Overall, eight of the 14 nations in the region measured by Nielsen registered quarter-on-quarter improvements in sentiment in the latest results.

Therese Glennon, APMEA consumer insights and innovation leader for Nielsen,said: "The variation in third quarter results in the region reflects the dynamic environment that businesses in Asia Pacific are facing.

"We saw key global economic indicators deteriorate in the last quarter, and coupled with the ongoing Euro crisis, results in pressure in markets like Japan [and] Korea."

Nielsen's report also suggested the relative optimism among Asia Pacific consumers was not necessarily translating to increased spending. In all, 72% of Asian consumers said they had adopted new behaviours in order to save money on household expenditure in the past year, while a slim majority (52%) said they thought their nation was in recession.

By far the most popular destination for spare cash was savings accounts, cited by 64% of respondents in the region – up from 60% the previous quarter. Holiday spending (40%) and new clothes (36%) were the next most popular choices.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff