Consumer confidence around the world ended on a flat note in 2013, but signs of a brighter sentiment were right around the corner. With an index score of 96 in the first quarter—the highest level since first-quarter 2007, that optimism was validated. The increase marks a return to a pre-recession level, according to consumer confidence findings from Nielsen. The global index represents a two-point increase from fourth-quarter 2013 and a three-point increase from a year ago (Q1 2013).
Regional consumer confidence was highest in Asia-Pacific, which posted an index score of 106, a one-point increase from the previous quarter (Q4 2013) and a three-point increase from a year ago (Q1 2013). North America posted the largest quarterly increase of five points to reach the optimism baseline of 100—the highest level since 2007. Confidence in the Middle East/Africa region increased four points to 94, and European confidence rose two points to 75 from fourth-quarter 2013. Latin America reported the only quarterly regional consumer confidence decline, falling one point to an index level of 93.
“With global consumer confidence at a seven-year high, it marks a significant milestone level since before the longest recession since the Great Depression,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “A global sentiment moves to one of cautious stability. As recovery continues, signs of optimism are increasing.”
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, 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 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.
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For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q1 2014 Global Consumer Confidence Report.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Feb. 17 – March 7, 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 their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a margin of error of ±0.6%. 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 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 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.