According to the latest Global Consumer Confidence Index from The Conference Board, a non-profit research group, consumer confidence worldwide increased slightly in the second quarter to 107, up from 106 in Q1.
But the US and China registered index scores of 121 and 115 respectively, both significantly above the global average, suggesting that tensions between Washington and Beijing have not dampened the positive outlook of consumers in both countries about their job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions.
This is partly because the sheer size of their domestic economies means the US and China are less dependent on international trade, lessening the impact of higher tariff costs on consumers.
“Most of the tariff increases between the US and China were actually not directly on consumer goods, but they were more on industry goods, intermediate things like that,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board, in comments reported by Yahoo Finance.
“Now, they didn’t automatically translate into large increases in consumer prices because companies quite often were there to meet the cost of that rather than pass it to the consumer,” he added.
Confidence in the US remains “near historic highs”, the report said, although confidence levels declined in Canada (99), Mexico (96) and Brazil (91) amid increased pessimism about job prospects.
Asia-Pacific stood out as the most confident region in the world, based on an online survey of 32,000 consumers in 64 markets, and the report described consumers there as “extremely confident”.
With the notable exceptions of South Korea (56) and Japan (79), the Global Consumer Confidence Index registered high scores in India (138), the Philippines (130), Indonesia (126), Vietnam (123). Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand scored 94 and 101 respectively.
Turning to Europe, the report noted that consumer confidence improved in the region over the second quarter and is back at “historical highs”.
Germany registered an index score of 103 and there was a “notable gain” in France to 81, although confidence dropped four points in the UK to 94, with the report attributing the decline to concerns about Brexit and its associated political and economic uncertainties.
Sourced from The Conference Board, Yahoo Finance; additional content by WARC staff