Global consumer confidence has been slowly increasing since the fourth quarter of 2012 and ended 2014 with an index score of 96. While this score marks a decline of two index points from the third quarter, two points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2013. The index is still above a pre-recession level of 94 from third-quarter 2007.
Regionally, consumer confidence declined one point in North America (106) and Asia-Pacific (106) in the fourth quarter—the only regions to score above the baseline reading of 100. Confidence also decreased one point in the Middle East/Africa (95), three points in Latin America (88) and two points in Europe (76) from the previous quarter.
The world’s biggest economies followed the trend, with consumer confidence decreasing two points in the U.S. (106), four points in China (107) and four points in Japan (73). Conversely, confidence rose one point each in Germany (98) and in the U.K. (94).
"Confidence in more than half of the global markets measured retreated slightly in the fourth quarter with continued geopolitical tensions and some slowing in emerging-market growth,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen and president, The Demand Institute. “Latin American markets, such as Brazil, saw particularly large declines in confidence compared with last quarter and a year ago, reflective of the economic slowdown there. While recovery in Europe continues to be weak, and there is recent speculation of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank, confidence is still up slightly in most economies from a year ago, suggesting that fears of yet another eurozone recession have not yet hit overall consumers’ outlook. In the U.S., where labor markets have continued to recover, confidence is up significantly from its level a year ago."
In the latest online survey, conducted Nov. 10-28, 2014, consumer confidence increased in 17 of 60 markets measured by Nielsen (28%), compared with 39 markets (65%) that saw increases in the third quarter. Italy reported the lowest score of 45, a quarterly decline of two points. Ireland (90) showed the biggest improvement, as confidence there rose six percentage points. Malaysia (89) logged the biggest decline, as confidence there fell 10 points from the previous quarter.
Other findings include:
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q4 2014 Global Consumer Confidence Report.
For a historical look at global consumer confidence by region, country and time period, click here to explore the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.
The 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 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.