Though global consumer confidence remained stable in the first quarter with a one-point increase from the previous quarter, significant variation existed on a country-by-country basis, and a growing recessionary sentiment was the mood in many markets. In fact, six in 10 global respondents believed their nation’s economy was in recession in the first quarter, an increase from 55% in the fourth quarter of last year and the highest level since 2012. Additionally, recessionary sentiment rose in 40 of 61* measured markets in the first quarter, with double-digit percentage point increases in Estonia (+24%), Colombia (+15%), Hong Kong (+12%), Singapore (+12%), Norway (+10%), Argentina (+10%) and Saudi Arabia (+10%).
Recessionary sentiment also rose nine percentage points in France (to 81%), China (38%) and the Netherlands (58%) from the fourth quarter. It rose eight percentage points in Romania (to 54%) and seven percentage points in Russia (88%), Italy (87%), Japan (82%), Thailand (82%), and Canada (72%).
High levels of recessionary sentiment were also seen in the emerging markets of Venezuela (98%), Ukraine (97%), Belarus (96%), Brazil (94%), South Korea (92%) and Kazakhstan (91%).
“Concerns about a global recession dissipated among economists by the end of the first quarter of 2016. Still, consumers across markets surveyed in the first quarter of 2016 were, on average, more likely than not to think their economy was in recession relative to those surveyed the previous quarter,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “Big jumps in recessionary sentiment of some individual markets can indicate consumer concerns about macroeconomic or even political situations specific to that country, even if they do not coincide with an actual recession.”