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A Regional Close-up on Global Consumer Confidence
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A Regional Close-up on Global Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence fell in 25 of 52 countries in Q4 2010 as hope for a global economic recovery evaporated at the end of last year, according to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, which tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intent. According to the survey, which polled more than 29,000 Internet consumers in November 2010, in many countries, widespread concern for unemployment, job creation, rising food and utility costs eradicated any expectation of sustained economic recovery.

Asia Pacific

The Value-Conscious Consumer Rises in Asia

CNBC Asia Squawk Box interviewed Karthik Rao, Managing Director, Custom Research, The Nielsen Company to discuss spending intentions, concerns about inflation and the state of the economy in Asia. [Watch the Video]

Confident but Cautious: Asia Pacific Consumers Spend, But Seek Value

Consumer confidence in the Asia Pacific region gained six points year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2010 to an index level of 97. With this jump, Asia Pacific became the second-most confident region in the world at the end of 2010, just behind Latin America. [read more about Asia Pacific Consumer Confidence]

Aussie Consumer Confidence Stumbles

In a reversal of fortune to the previous quarter, Aussie confidence ended 2010 with a slight drop as consumers looked to curb expenditure in the wake of rising utility and food costs. [download Australia’s Consumer Confidence release]

Chinese Consumers’ Reluctance to Spend Weakens Confidence

China’s consumer confidence index fell four points to 100 at the end of 2010. Rural consumers’ confidence remained relativity stable while urban consumers’ confidence experienced a pull back. The primary driver behind this decline: inflation in consumer prices, particularly food. This, in turn, has led to a decrease in consumers’ willingness to spend money. The high price of homes and rising interest rates has also impacted spending.

[download China’s Consumer Confidence release]

India Retains Top Spot on Global Consumer Confidence Index, but Inflation Affects Discretionary Spend for Some Categories

India has topped the consumer confidence survey in all four quarters of 2010 and has also seen a steady rise in index points. This is a good sign for India as this means that the economy is fast moving out of the slowdown. But global economic conditions have made Indians wary about the future and they are exercising some restraint in their spending habits. [download India’s Consumer Confidence release]

92% of Japanese Say Job Prospects Are Not Good

Japan’s consumer confidence index of 54 ranked in the bottom four of 52 countries measured. A sense of stagnation is due to the economic recession and continued job insecurity, which remains regardless of the recent change in government. [download Japan’s Consumer Confidence release – in Japanese]

Consumer Confidence in Malaysia Hits Four-Year High in Forth Quarter 2010

Malaysia ranked ninth globally in consumer confidence as consumers feel more positive about local job prospects and the state of their personal finances. Consumer confidence in Malaysia rose four points in December 2010 to 107, reaching its highest level since the third quarter of 2006. [download Malaysia’s Consumer Confidence release]

Singapore Ranks Among Top 10 Most Confident Countries in the World

Singapore wrapped up 2010 on a positive note, posting a consumer confidence index of 109 in Q4 2010. The results reflected a 9-point jump year-on-year, as confidence in the country was boosted by strong economic growth, buoyant stock and property markets as well as a strong Singapore dollar. At 109 points, Singapore is the seventh most confident country our of 53 measured after India (131), Philippines (120), Norway (119), Indonesia (116), Australia (112), and Switzerland (110). [download Singapore’s Consumer Confidence release]

Taiwanese Consumer Confidence Drops Slightly

While Taiwan’s consumer confidence dropped two points from 88 to 86 in fourth quarter 2010, the percentage of Taiwanese respondents believing that Taiwan is in an economic recession decreased from 59 percent to 51 percent. The drop is due to consumer’s pessimistic attitude about personal finance prospects and purchasing intentions.

Thai Consumer Confidence Rose 10 Points in Second Half of 2010

Thailand finished the year with a consumer confidence index of 102, which remained relatively high compared to the first half of the year. The second half of 2010 saw a strong rebound in consumer confidence in Thailand, underscoring the country’s resilience. Over the years Thai consumers have consistently demonstrated a great ability to bounce back from political challenges and serious threats from natural disasters. [download Singapore’s Consumer Confidence release]

Europe

Consumer Confidence in Austria Continues to Rise

After rising nine points in the third quarter 2010, Austria’s consumer confidence index increases another two points to reach 96 – an historic high. Austrians showed improved job prospects, personal finances and readiness to spend. [download Austria’s Consumer Confidence release – in German]

German Consumer Confidence Remains at a High Level

After hitting a high point in the third quarter 2010, German consumer confidence dipped four points in fourth quarter to an index of 83. However, it is at a high level in comparison to the European regional index of 79. [download Germany’s Consumer Confidence release – in German]

More Than One in Four Great Britain Shoppers Have No Spare Cash – A New High

As pressures on personal budgets mount, the proportion of people saying they ‘have no spare cash’ was six percentage points higher at the end of 2010 than it had been a year earlier and the highest since the survey began in 2005. [download Great Britain’s Consumer Confidence release]

Greece’s Consumer Confidence Falls to Historic Lows

Greece’s consumer confidence marked one of the bigger declines, leading to the country’s lowest historical drop. The index plunged nine points to a score of 48. Only Portugal and Croatia were lower, with an index of 45. One of the most concerning findings from the survey is that the overwhelming majority of Greeks (83%) do not think the country will emerge from the recession in 2011. [download Greece’s Consumer Confidence release – in Greek]

Ireland’s Consumer Confidence Slips Once Again in Fourth Quarter 2010

Consumer confidence in Ireland fell in Q4 2010 following four consecutive quarters of growth and stabilization. While consumer confidence levels remained unchanged in Q3, the latest results do not bode well, showing that Irish consumers still maintain a level of gloominess. [download Ireland’s Consumer Confidence release]

Scandinavian Consumers Are the Most Confident in Europe

The Scandinavian countries continue to top the European rankings for the most positive nations regarding their personal finances and their willingness to spend. The situation is different in Scandinavia, with Norway as the most optimistic country in Europe in regards to job prospects, personal finances and their ability to buy the things they want and need. Sweden and Denmark are close behind, even though consumer confidence declined in Denmark, driven by increased concern about job prospects. Consumers in Finland are far less optimistic. [download the Scandinavian Consumer Confidence release]

Spainish Unemployment and Job Security Are Main Concerns

Unemployment and job security continue to be main concerns for Spanish consumers and these factors greatly influence consumption. The crisis continues to force Spanish consumers to change consumption habits, something they have already been doing for months. Saving measures, such as reducing use of utilities and consolidating shopping trips will continue even when the economy improves. [download Spain’s Consumer Confidence release – in Spanish]

Russian Consumer Confidence Recoils to Second Quarter Levels

Russian consumer confidence dropped two points in fourth quarter to an index of 88. Since the beginning of recession the index never rose higher than 90 points and fluctuated in the range of 86-90 points. Consumers in Russia have retained confidence in the job market and many believe in the stability of their personal financial situation. But with growing grocery and utilities prices, they now find themselves with less disposable income. [download Russia’s Consumer Confidence release]

Switzerland’s Consumer Confidence Hits Historic High

Switzerland’s consumer confidence index of 110 rises 10 points from the previous quarter reaching an historic high. Switzerland’s results show a constant upward trend throughout 2010. Within one year, the index rose 25 points, which is not only the highest value in the past five years, but also the second highest in Europe. Only Norway’s confidence is higher in Europe. Worldwide, Switzerland ranks sixth. [download Switzerland’s Consumer Confidence release – in German]

Latin America

Latin America is the Most Optimistic Region in the World

Latin America continued to show a consistent and strong performance at the end of 2010. Brazil finished the year with a consumer confidence index of 108 points, leading the growth in the region and occupying eighth place consumer confidence world-wide growth. The growing confidence of the Brazilian consumer is a reflection of several factors, among them is the positive performance of the Brazilian economy. Colombia and Argentina also finished the year strong with high index scores. In Mexico, a consumer confidence level of 86 points was the lowest in the region. [download Latin America’s Consumer Confidence release – in Spanish]

Middle East / Africa

Consumer Confidence in South Africa Dipped 3 Points in Fourth Quarter 2010

While positive sentiment in South Africa drove confidence levels up in second and third quarter 2010, consumer confidence declined three index points to 84 in fourth quarter.  There simply hasn’t been enough consistent and positive news to sustain the euphoria consumers felt during the World Cup. The reversal of global consumer confidence in the fourth quarter highlighted the fragility and uncertainty of the global economy at the time, and above all, the divergence in pace of recovery among international markets and regions. [download South Africa’s Consumer Confidence release]

United Arab Emirates Ranks in the Top 15 of Most Confident Countries

Consumer confidence in the UAE dropped four points from the third quarter of 2010 to 97 points in the fourth quarter of 2010, placing it in the top 15 of 52 countries measured.  UAE’s ranking fell out of the top ten most optimistic nations after being in top 10 consecutively for the last three quarters of 2010. The drop can be attributed to 14 countries ending the year with a consumer confidence index of 100 points or greater as compared to 11 countries who hit the 100+ index mark one year ago. UAE consumer sentiments have remained the same throughout 2010. [download UAE’s Consumer Confidence release]

North America

Canadian Consumer Confidence Declines and Returns to Early 2010 Levels

More than half of Canadians still feel the country is in a recession and nearly one-third report they have no spare cash. While Canadian consumer confidence continues to decline, falling two index points to 99, Canada still ranks higher than many nations around the globe, including the United States. Canada’s highest Index score of 114 was recorded in 2006. [download Canada’s Consumer Confidence release]

U.S. Consumer Confidence is Just One Index Point Away From its Lowest Level on Record

Forty-five percent of North Americans still expect the recession to last for another year, compared with 39 percent of Europeans and 19 percent of Asia Pacific consumers. The U.S. jobless rate remains at the heart of the issue for Americans. While the jobless rate dipped a meager 0.3 points in December to 9.4 percent – its lowest level in 19 months – it has topped nine percent for 20 months straight, which is the longest streak on record.