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More Consumers Worldwide Slip Back to Recessionary Sentiment Levels in Q2
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More Consumers Worldwide Slip Back to Recessionary Sentiment Levels in Q2

  • USA Consumer Confidence Drops
  • Asia Pacific and Middle East/Africa Regions Suffer Declines, but Remain Most Optimistic
  • Cash-Strapped Consumers Plan Further Cuts in All Discretionary Spending

Global online confidence declined to its lowest level in six quarters to 89 as economic recovery hit a stumbling block and recessionary jitters again reverberated around the world, according to Nielsen’s quarterly Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey. Confidence in the U.S. fell five index points to 78, two points lower than the 80 points recorded in the first half of 2009 at the height of the global recession.

“There wasn’t enough positive news to inspire confidence among global online consumers in the second quarter,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, Chief Economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “Weak economic figures, slowing manufacturing performance and inflation in Asia, an intensifying debt crisis in Europe and continuing political instability in the Middle East combined with rising household expenses in the U.S. have taken their toll on consumers’ fragile confidence. Hopes for full global recovery in the next 12 months substantially weakened in Q2 as the majority of consumers around the world remained in a recessionary mindset.”

In the latest round of the survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, 2011, regions of the Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific posted the steepest declines of 12 and nine points respectively compared to last quarter, but current figures are aligned with year-ago trends. And confidence levels in Europe (74) and Latin America (91) remained largely unchanged edging up one index point each. Despite its nine point dip, Asia Pacific remained the most optimistic region at 98 points, followed by Middle East/Africa at 94 points.

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Key Takeaways from the Q2 Report:

  • 58% of global online consumers said they are still in a recession – the most in the past year. More than half believe they will still be in a recession in a year’s time.
  • 31% of U.S. consumers said they have no spare cash for discretionary spending, along with 25% of Middle East/Africa consumers and 22% of Europeans.
  • U.S. fell five index points to 78, two points lower than the 80 points recorded at the height of the recession in the first half of 2009.
  • Indian consumers, despite a five point quarterly decline, remained the most positive.
  • Largest confidence declines in Q2 were recorded in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which had enjoyed the biggest increases in Q1 2011.
  • Increasing utility bills and inflation again eclipsed the economy and job security as main concerns in Europe.
  • Latin America consumer confidence edges up one index point to 91.
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The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey, established in 2005, tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 31,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.