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Global Consumer Confidence in 2015: A Year of Change
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Global Consumer Confidence in 2015: A Year of Change

Global consumer confidence ended 2015 on a subdued note as the index declined two points from the third quarter to 97—the same score as the start of the year. Compared to first-quarter 2015, confidence in the fourth quarter remained flat in Asia-Pacific at 107, while Europe edged up four points to 81. All other regions ended the year less confident than they started, with the North America and Middle East/Africa regions declining six points each to 100 and 90, respectively, and Latin America declining three points to 83.

Europe was the only region to show consistent confidence improvements throughout the year across all three indicators (job prospects (32%), personal finances (41%) and intentions to buy (35%), albeit at low levels. Confidence increased in 22 of 32 European markets from the first to the fourth quarter of 2015, with the most notable jumps in France (74) and the Czech Republic (97), rising 14 points each. Italy (61) and Portugal (66), markets that have struggled more than some other European economies in recent months, also reported steady increases, ending the year up four and seven points higher than at the start of the year, respectively.

In Asia-Pacific, confidence-indicator levels remained relatively consistent throughout the year, with fourth-quarter job prospects at 61%, personal finance sentiment at 62% and immediate spending intentions at 47%. In North America, levels were more mixed, but generally positive, as the year ended with job prospects at 45%, personal finance beliefs at 60% and spending intentions at 52%. Conversely, confidence indicator levels were down throughout the year in Latin America and Middle East/Africa.

“Confidence levels throughout 2015 reflect the varied ways that consumers filtered economic events within their regions and globally,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “Many emerging markets—though not all—are in slower growth environments, and confidence trends vary accordingly. European consumers on the whole have remained relatively resilient despite continued economic uncertainty. And while the U.S. is a relative bright spot in the global economy, consumers are still taking a cautiously optimistic attitude to their near-term futures.”

In the latest online survey, conducted Nov. 2–25, 2015, consumer confidence increased in 26 of 61 markets measured by Nielsen (43% of measured markets). India’s score of 131 remained the highest level, with no change from the third quarter, and South Korea’s was the lowest at 46, a quarterly rise of four points. Among the world’s largest economies, China’s score was 107, a rise of one point from the third quarter, followed by the U.K. (101), the U.S. (100), Germany (98) and Japan (79), which all showed quarter-on-quarter confidence declines.

Other findings from the fourth-quarter CCI include:

  • More than half (55%) of global respondents believed they were in recession in the fourth quarter.
  • Cutting back on out-of-home entertainment was one of the top three savings strategies in every region in the fourth quarter, with the highest level reported in Latin America (53%).
  • Fears about terrorism escalated to new highs in North America and Europe.
  • In the U.S., the percentage who believed they were in recession fell to 47%, the lowest level seen since Nielsen began tracking recessionary sentiment in 2008.
  • Consumer confidence in all three sub-Saharan markets measured by Nielsen (Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya) finished 2015 above an index score of 100.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2015 Global Consumer Confidence Report.

For a historical look at global consumer confidence by region, country and time period, explore the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Nov. 2–25, 2015 and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 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.