Around the world, Asia-Pacific was the only region where consumer confidence increased quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2013, rising one index point to 105, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence. In six of 14 countries measured, consumer confidence increased, with Japan posting an 80—its highest index since 2005 and a robust increase of 6 percentage points from the previous quarter. All confidence indicators in the region rose slightly in the fourth quarter, with a 2-percentage-point climb for job prospects (62%), a 1-percentage point increase for personal finances (62%) and a 3-percentage-point bump up for spending perceptions over the next 12 months (43%).
“In Japan, the boost in optimism follows positive developments during 2013, which include a weaker yen that contributed to the recovery of exports and a rise in the Nikkei stock average,” said Toshihiro Fukutoku, managing director, Nielsen Japan. “In anticipation of the April 2014 sales tax hike, Japanese consumers have been spending more, but caution prevails for the second half of the year.”
India also reversed its downward confidence trend of the first three quarters of 2013 by rebounding three index points to 115 in Q4. Also indicating the growing optimism in the country was the decreased percentage of Indians who felt mired in recession, which dropped to 62 percent from 76 percent in Q3.
“In India, the improved perception for consumers at the end of 2013 comes in the wake of relative economic stability and a reduction in negative news reports across economic parameters,” said Piyush Mathur, president, Nielsen India. “In the first quarter of 2014, continuing inflation and upcoming elections may impact consumers who are likely to tighten their purse strings now that the festival and holiday periods are over.”
The outlook for job prospects in the next year increased in eight of 14 countries, with healthy quarterly confidence increases in Japan (+8 percentage points), India (+7pp), Indonesia (+5pp), Australia (+5pp) and New Zealand (+4pp). The overall recessionary sentiment in the region fell by 3 percentage points to 44 percent, compared to Q3. While overall confidence in the region was optimistic, cautionary winds prevail as discretionary spending intentions declined across all categories measured.
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For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q4 2013 Global Consumer Confidence Report.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Nov. 11–29, 2013 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 their Internet users, and 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 10 million 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.