More than a third of Australians say rising utility bills are their biggest concern over the next six months
Australian consumer confidence dropped four points to lowest on record
Three-in-five Aussies are concerned about their job prospects in the next 12 months
SYDNEY – JULY 23, 2014: Rising cost of utility bills is the biggest concern for Australians over the next six months and higher than any other nation globally, according to the latest consumer confidence survey results from Nielsen.
The Nielsen consumer confidence survey for quarter two 2014, revealed more than a third (34%) of Australians confirmed rising cost of utility bills as their biggest or second biggest concern for the next six months – up from 29 percent in quarter two 2013, followed by the economy (28%) and job security (26%).
Consumer confidence in Australia has declined four points from quarter one’s record low (89 points) to 85 points. It’s the fourth straight quarterly decrease and the country’s lowest score since Nielsen began measuring consumer confidence in 2005, (see chart 1).
Nielsen’s Head of Demand Strategy, Greg Dring, said that a marked deterioration in sentiment is not being reflected in underlying consumption activity.
“Sentiment readings tend to reflect what people are feeling about the future rather than what they are doing right now,” said Dring. “Over the past twelve months, consumption expenditure has increased at an average of 5.1 percent and retail sales growth, a subset of final consumption expenditure, has also accelerated.”
Just one-third of Australian respondents were optimistic about job prospects—the lowest level since 2009. Scores for personal finances (48%) and intentions to buy (37%) in the next 12 months also declined two and four percentage points, respectively. Close to half (48%) of Australian respondents regarded the state of their personal finances to be ominous, up nine percentage points compared to the same quarter last year.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
In conjunction with the second-quarter index release, Nielsen is unveiling a new interactive data visualisation tool based on nine years of historical global consumer confidence data, which spans 60 countries and represents a global online population of some 2 billion consumers. The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker allows users to select a variety of different data points related to consumer economic sentiment to create dynamic visualisations by region, country, issue, and time period.
Globally, consumer confidence increased one index point to 97 in the second quarter of 2014, the highest score since Q1 2007. This follows a two-point increase at the start of the year that marked the global index’s first return to pre-recession levels. Additionally, half of global respondents believed the job market would be good or excellent in the upcoming year, a 1-percentage-point increase from the first quarter and a level not reached since 2007.
CHART 1: AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER CONFIDENCE (index points)
Source: Nielsen Global Survey, Q2 2014
Click here to download the quarter two, 2014 Nielsen Global Survey Report.
 While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.
ABOUR THE NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted May 12-30, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60-percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television, and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows, and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
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