NEW YORK: Global consumer confidence declined during the last quarter, meaning a majority of shoppers are now opting against purchasing goods they "want and need", according to a study.

Nielsen, the research firm, surveyed 28,000 internet users around the world, and found its overall barometer of popular sentiment dropped by one point quarter on quarter, to 88 points.

More specifically, perceptions worsened in 31 of the 56 featured nations, with scores above 100 points indicating improving confidence and totals below this benchmark suggesting a depreciation of opinion.

Elsewhere, 64% of interviewees agreed it is currently "not a good time to buy things they want and need". A fifth of Europeans and a third of North Americans also reported having "no spare cash".

Similarly, 62% of contributors thought their country was in a recession, rising from 58% in Q2 2011 and 55% in Q1 2011.

Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, part of Nielsen, said: "A recessionary mindset is growing ... The result is continued spending restraint for discretionary expenses, which is expected to continue into the next year."

Economic concerns also regained the position as the top issue worrying shoppers for the first time since Q4 2010, on 18%, replacing job security on 14%, a figure increasing by five percentage points.

Among consumers who argued their country is experiencing a recession, 63% of Europeans and 60% of North Americans anticipated this situation would last into 2012, up from 54% and 53% in turn when asked the same question in Q1 2009.

In all, India posted the highest confidence levels on 121 points, although this actually marked a five-point slide measured against the previous quarter.

Saudi Arabia claimed second place on 120 points, a lift of 13 points on Q2 2011. Indonesia also accrued two points to reach 114 points. Brazil tied with the Philippines on 112 points, but the former was up 16 points, and the latter off by three points.

In contrast, Hungary registered 37 points, the lowest ratings worldwide, with Portugal on 40 points, while Croatia, Romania and Greece yielded 49 points apiece.

Meanwhile, China recorded 104 points, the US delivered 77 points and Germany generated 87 points, all down one point quarter on quarter. Japan gained one point, to 56 points, as did the UK, on 73 points.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff