Around the globe, more consumers say they’re feeling confident. In the first quarter of 2014, global consumer confidence returned to a pre-recession level with an index score of 96—the highest score since first-quarter 2007. This represents a two-point increase from fourth-quarter 2013 and a three-point increase from a year ago (Q1 2013). And there are other positive signs: perceptions of local job prospects improved in all regions except Latin America; recessionary sentiment improved in 68 percent of markets; and discretionary spending intentions increased in all regions.
Heading up this positive sentiment are the world’s biggest economies. Consumer confidence increased six points in the U.S. (100), remained flat in China (111), increased one point in Japan (81), increased four points in Germany (99), increased eight points in France (59) and increased three points in the U.K. (87). This puts U.S. consumer confidence at its highest level since 2007, while Germany and Japan consumer confidence are at their highest levels since 2005.
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 the latest round of the survey, conducted Feb. 17–March 7, 2014, consumer confidence increased in 60 percent of markets measured by Nielsen—up from 43 percent the previous quarter (Q4 2013).
Indonesia (124) reported the highest consumer confidence index score for the fifth consecutive quarter, which was flat compared to fourth-quarter 2013. Croatia and Italy each reported the lowest consumer confidence scores (45), an increase of one point each compared to the previous quarter. Egypt (87) and Switzerland (104) reported the largest quarter-on-quarter increases of 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ukraine (56) reported the biggest quarterly decline of seven points.