Though consumer confidence scores saw a slowdown between the third and fourth quarters of 2014, people are still finding reasons to see the glass as half full. Confidence scores improved in 39 of 60 markets year over year, meaning that progress is slow, but it is indeed taking place in more than half of global markets measured. Eleven markets reported double-digit confidence climbs, including the U.S. and the U.K., which rose 12 and 10 points, respectively. Other notable increases from the previous year include Romania (+15), Egypt (+14), Ireland (+13) and Bulgaria (+13).
Similarly, while all global consumer confidence indicators declined in the fourth quarter—job prospects (-3 percentage points), personal finances (-1 pp) and immediate spending intentions (-1 pp)—year-over-year performance was positive. Just under half of global respondents (49%) believed the job market would be good or excellent in the next 12 months, up from 47% in fourth-quarter 2013. Likewise, perceptions of personal finances slightly improved to 56% (from 55% the previous year) and immediate spending intentions rose to 40% (from 38%).
Year-over-year key performance Indicator metrics improved most dramatically in North America. Job prospect expectations rose 12 percentage points to 50%, while the state of personal finances increased six percentage points to 64%, and immediate spending intentions jumped eight percentage points to 51% in the 12-month period. Significant improvements were also reported in the Middle East/Africa region: Job prospects increased four percentage points, personal finances rose seven points and immediate spending intentions jumped eight points, compared to fourth-quarter 2013.
Latin America was the only region to report declining year-over-year performance for all three metrics. Job prospect expectations declined 12 percentage points to 31%, the state of personal finances dropped three percentage points to 58% and immediate spending intentions declined two percentage points to 35%, from fourth-quarter 2013.