European consumer confidence remains the lowest in the world

17 of the world’s lowest 20 countries measured for consumer confidence are in Europe But Switzerland had the biggest rise in confidence globally this quarter More Europeans believe they are in recession than last year and last quarter Job security is the  biggest concern for European consumers Spending less on new clothes is the most popular way of saving money

Contact: Neil Beston, Tel: 020 3103 3959

LONDON – Thu 15 November 2012 – Despite a small rise for the third successive quarter, consumer confidence levels in Europe remain much lower than in every other global region, according to the latest figures from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

European consumer confidence levels are up by one index point on the last quarter to 74 in Q3 2012. However, this is still lower than in Asia Pacific (100), the Middle East/Africa (98), Latin America (94) and North America (91). 

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 Internet consumers in 58 countries.  Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.


Europe accounts for 17 of the 20 countries with the lowest confidence levels measured globally by Nielsen, including eight of the bottom 10: Hungary (37), Croatia (41), Portugal (41), Greece (46), Italy (46), Spain (48), Romania (60) and France (61). 

European confidence rises – marginally

Only Europe and North America (up three points) saw consumer confidence levels increase on the previous quarter; Latin America fell two points, while Asia Pacific and the Middle East/Africa remained flat. 

Europe accounts for four of the six countries with the largest increases in consumer confidence between Q2 2012 and Q3 2012. Switzerland is the biggest riser among countries measured globally by Nielsen (+10 index points) followed by Belgium (+9), Australia (+8), Thailand (+8), Hungary (+7) and Norway (+7).

Switzerland’s increase to 104 points now reflects that its consumers are the tenth most confident globally – India leads with 119 – while Hungary, despite its rise in confidence, reported the lowest index score among all 58 countries measured by Nielsen. 

Nielsen European president Christophe Cambournac comments: “The third quarter was subdued, with a degree of restraint among consumers in Europe.  The region still faces a tough economic situation, despite some recent stabilising policy initiatives by the European Central Bank.  While there are pockets of recovery, growth in Europe is likely to remain a big challenge over the next year, with the major European economies currently in or on the edge of recession.”

Job security and the economy remain Europeans biggest concerns

European respondents indicate that their biggest concern is job security (among 16 percent of respondents), followed by the economy (14 percent) and rising utility bills (10 percent). These are bigger concerns to them than issues such as terrorism (three percent), crime and global warming (both two percent).

Recessionary sentiment and cost-cutting both rise

The number of European respondents who said they believe their country is in a recession increased from 71 percent in Q2 to 75 percent in Q3 – 61 percent of whom say they don’t believe they’ll be out of recession in the next year.  Consequently, two-thirds of European online consumers (65 percent) say they have changed their spending habits to save on household expenses.  According to survey responses, Greeks (93 percent) are the most likely to do this, Norwegians the least likely (40 percent).

European respondents report that the most popular method of cost cutting is to spend less on new clothes (57 percent), followed by cutting down on out-of-home entertainment activities (53 percent) and switching to cheaper grocery brands (51 percent).

Spare cash goes into savings or new clothes

European respondents say they are much less likely to have spare cash once they’ve covered their essential living expenses; 20 percent say they have no spare cash compared to 14 percent globally.


About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted August 10 – September 7, 2012 and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 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 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey conducted among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit