New Zealand consumer confidence remained stable in the first quarter at an index of 99, just below the optimism baseline score of 100. The score of 99 did not change from the previous quarter (Q4 2015) and declined three points from 102 a year ago (Q1 2015). In Australia, confidence declined seven points to 89, as all three consumer confidence indicators (job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions) declined in the first quarter.
In Australia, confidence declines reflect increased anxiety about the future of the economy and the state of personal finances. Worries about the nation’s economy have overtaken terrorism, job security and increasing utility bills to become the biggest concerns for Australians.
There were no major changes in the key drivers of New Zealand’s confidence. Around half (52%) said job prospects were good or excellent, 57% were optimistic of their personal finances but two-thirds (66%) did not think it is a good time to buy what they want and need over the next year.
New Zealanders say the top concern they face over the next six months is debt. The economy is a growing worry, increasing by six percentage points from the previous quarter and 11 percentage points from a year ago to 20%. Increasing utility bills are also top of mind. However, New Zealanders were less concerned than they were the previous year about job security, their work/life balance and health.
Nick Tuffley, Chief Economist, ASB said, “New Zealanders are facing mixed influences at the moment. Weak dairy prices remain a concern for people based in dairy-intensive regions, with prices yet to show convincing signs of recovery. The start of the year brought a lot of financial market turmoil and uncertainty about the health of key export markets. Both of these sets of worries no doubt contributed to a lift in the number of respondents who are concerned about the economic outlook and who would save any spare cash they have. But the jobs market remains in reasonable shape and interest rates have once more started to fall, which will boost the discretionary spending power of borrowers.”
In China, consumer confidence edged down two points to 105, as the share expressing a positive outlook for jobs in the next year declined five percentage points to 60% - the lowest level since 2010. The U.K. decreased four index points to 97 and Germany decreased one point to 97. In the world’s largest economy, the U.S. the consumer confidence score of 110 remained at or above the optimism baseline for nine consecutive quarters. More than half of U.S. respondents were confident that personal finances (68%), immediate spending intentions (56%) and job prospects (52%) would be good or excellent over the next 12 months.
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q1 2016 Global Consumer Confidence Report. If you would like more detailed country-level data from this survey, it is available for sale in the Nielsen Store.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted March 1-23, 2016, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 63 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior 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. The sub-Saharan African countries in this study are compiled from a separate mobile methodology survey among 1,600 respondents in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.