New Zealand consumer confidence ended 2014 with an index score of 101 – a decline of one index point from the previous quarter. Confidence is up slightly from a year ago where it indexed at 100. New Zealand is above Australia (93), U.K. (94) and the global average (96) but trails behind and U.S. (106).
Two-thirds (66%) of Kiwis believe the country is no longer in a recession, an improvement of 12 percentage points from the same time a year ago (Q4 2013). In Q4 2014, three-in-five Australians said their country is out of recession, compared to the U.S. and U.K. where less than half (45%) believed they were.
For the key indicators of confidence - over half of New Zealanders had positive perceptions of the local job market (53%). More were assured about the state of their personal finances with 55% saying they were good or excellent. But the majority of Kiwis (52%) said it was not a good time to buy things they want or need over the next 12 months.
If New Zealanders did have spare cash, many would put that into savings (43%) or paying off debt (31%). A quarter of New Zealanders plan to spend spare cash on holidays (26%) and around a fifth on new clothes (21%), home improvements (20%) and new technology products (17%).
Nick Tuffley, chief economist, ASB Bank, adds, “Consumer sentiment globally was a bit weaker over Q4, though in NZ confidence was comparatively resilient with only a marginal fall. Even as Europeans and Australians became more wary about their economies’ performance, NZ has looked relatively robust. The survey results show that over Q4 NZ consumers were very focused on putting spare cash towards savings and increasingly intended to pay down debt. More recent petrol price falls have suddenly given consumers more discretionary spending power, so it will be interesting to see how strong those thrifty intentions remain in 2015.”
About the Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005. This Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Nov. 10-28, 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 and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behaviour of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country.
Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China.