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Global Consumer Confidence Economy Returns as Top Concern
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Global Consumer Confidence Economy Returns as Top Concern

Global online consumer confidence fell for the seventh consecutive quarter as confidence in 31 of 56 global markets measured declined, according to third quarter global online consumer confidence findings from Nielsen.

“Third quarter was volatile and challenging for global economies and financial markets amid stagnant U.S. unemployment figures and a worsening euro zone debt crisis,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, Chief Economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “A recessionary mindset is growing among consumers as more than half say they are currently in a recession—up four percentage points from last quarter and seven points from the start of the year. The result is continued spending restraint for discretionary expenses, which is expected to continue into the next year.”

The survey tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. U.S. consumer confidence dropped one point to an index of 77. Consumer confidence also fell by one point last quarter in China from 105 to 104 and one point in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

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Economic and job security concerns mount

In the latest round of the survey, conducted between August 30 and September 16, 2011, the economy re-emerged as the top concern among 18 percent of online consumers around the globe. The economy last topped concerns in Q4 2010, before it was replaced by worries over increasing food prices in the first half of this year. Job security follows close behind for 14 percent of consumers, rising five percentage points from three months ago. Managing a work/life balance, increasing food prices and concerns about health round out the top five most stressful issues for respondents.

“Driven by a stalled job market and uncertainty about the future course of the global economy, concerns over job security and other economic risks rise to new heights in the third quarter in many parts of the world,” said Dr. Bala. In North America, one-in-three are concerned about the economy—up seven points from second quarter and more than one-in-10 (12%) are worried about job security—an increase of five points from three months ago.

In Latin America, concerns over job security (15%) and crime (12%) took a slight edge over the economy (11%). In Middle East/Africa, while job security retained the top spot in this region, the quarter-on-quarter increase is noteworthy—jumping nine points to 20 percent up from 11 percent in second quarter. In Asia Pacific, the economy (18%) and job security (15%) rose eight and seven points, respectively.

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For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q3 2011 Consumer Confidence report.