Consumer confidence in North America rose four index points in the third quarter to 107—a score that matches Asia-Pacific’s score for the first time in Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence history (since 2005). Confidence in the U.S. increased four points for the second consecutive quarter to reach a score of 108 in the third quarter. The rise continued an upward trend that started in first-quarter 2013, and confidence in the U.S. has increased 15 points since then. Confidence also increased in Canada, rising one point from the previous quarter to an index level of 103.
In the U.S., all consumer confidence indicators measured in the survey increased in the third quarter, reaching levels not reported since 2007: Job prospect confidence increased 9 percentage points to 55%, personal finance confidence increased 2 percentage points to 66%, and the portion of respondents who believe now is a good time to buy increased 2 percentage points to 51% from the second quarter.
“U.S. consumers are now feeling far more confident than in previous years of the recovery due to consistently good job market trends reflected in steady payroll growth and falling unemployment over the course of 2014,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “They are also benefiting from lower gasoline prices and a gradually improving housing market. In the coming months, as we start to see more people reentering the workforce and meaningful wage growth, this is likely to translate into broad-based gains in consumer spending."
“The percentage of U.S. consumers who believe they are in a recession declined 3 percentage points in the third quarter to 65%,” said James Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen. “While the decline represents good news, a recessionary mindset still lingers, which is impacting current retail sales that are on a long, slow ride to improvement.”
Likewise in Canada, consumer sentiment was largely positive. The outlook for jobs increased 6 percentage points to 56%, and spending intentions increased 5 percentage points to 51%. However, perceptions about personal finances trended slightly downward, declining 1 percentage point to 61%.
In the region, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending intentions increased marginally for buying new clothes (32%), paying off debts/credit cards/loans (35%) and putting money into savings accounts (42%), retirement funds (19%) and investments (15%). Discretionary spending intentions were flat for holidays/vacations (31%), out-of-home entertainment (22%) and new technology (21%).
For a deeper look at the survey findings, view nine years of historical consumer confidence data with Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker. The tool allows you to explore data, compare markets and see trends with just a click.
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For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.
The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only 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.