Global Consumer Confidence Reported Slow Steady Improvement in Q2

Global consumer confidence increased one point to an index of 94 in the second quarter, according to consumer confidence findings from Nielsen. The increase is part of a slow, but steady upward movement in consumer sentiment reported in the first half of the year. Asia-Pacific, North America and Middle East/Africa each reported quarterly increases, with index levels rising to 105, 96 and 91, respectively. Europe’s consumer confidence index has held steady at 71 for three consecutive quarters, and Latin America’s confidence declined one index point in Q2 to 93.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

“While confidence in Europe remained largely in a holding pattern as financial conditions stabilized, perceptions about jobs, personal finances and spending intentions increased in the world’s three largest economies, U.S., China and Japan, which is having a beneficial effect around the world,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “However, concerns remain that macroeconomic events, such as too sharp a rise in interest rates, may impair the consumer recovery, including lowering the demand for home purchases and spending on big-ticket items.”

In the U.S., a robust rebound in the housing and equity markets helped elevate confidence to a score of 96, an increase of three index points in the second quarter. In China, consumer confidence rose two index points to 110 in the second quarter. Japan’s consumer confidence index rose five points to 78 in the second quarter, its highest reading since Q1 2006, amid government stimulus measures intended to jolt the economy out of almost two decades of stagnation.

In the latest round of the survey, conducted between May 13 and May 31, 2013, consumer confidence increased in 45 percent of the markets measured by Nielsen, compared with 60 percent in the previous quarter. Indonesia (124) reported the highest consumer confidence index for the second consecutive quarter with a two-point increase from Q1 2013. Portugal reported the lowest index of 33, unchanged from Q1. Pakistan reported the biggest quarterly index increase of 11 points to a score of 98. Israel’s drop of eight index points to 83 was the biggest quarterly decline.

Other findings include:

  • The recessionary sentiment in North America dropped to lowest level since the Great Recession.
  • European respondents remained stuck in a spending holding pattern.
  • Confidence in Middle East/Africa returned to Q4 2012 levels.
  • Discretionary spending intentions improved in Asia-Pacific.

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