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Global Consumer Confidence in Subdued Holding Pattern During Q3
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Global Consumer Confidence in Subdued Holding Pattern During Q3

Global consumer confidence increased one index point in the third quarter of 2012 to a score of 92 as consumers are caught between very slow improvement in some regions, and the threat of further crises posed by economic volatility, according to consumer confidence findings from Nielsen.

“The subdued third-quarter results reflect an overall trend that is neither positive nor negative as consumers are treading water very carefully,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “Consumers played it safe in Q3, especially in Europe, which still faces a very precarious economic situation despite some recent stabilizing policy initiatives by the European Central Bank. Export growth from China, especially to the euro zone, has slowed substantially accompanied by restraint among consumers there. Consumers in the U.S., while less directly impacted by Europe, continue to be cautious in the face of an uneven recovery, marked by still-elevated unemployment levels and disappointing payroll growth.”

In the latest round of the survey, conducted between August 10 and September 7, 2012, North America and Europe reported the only quarterly consumer confidence increases, rising three index points to 91 and one point to 74, respectively. Asia-Pacific and the Middle East/Africa regions remained flat in Q3 reporting index scores of 100 and 98, respectively. Latin America decreased two index points to a score of 94. Overall, consumer confidence rose in 52 percent of global markets measured by Nielsen in Q3, compared to 41 percent of markets in the previous quarter. Confidence increased in 30 of 58 markets, declined in 19, and remained flat in seven. Two new markets were added to the Q3 Global Survey: Bulgaria and Slovakia.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 Internet consumers in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Other notable findings include:

  • North America and Europe reported the only regional consumer confidence increases
  • Globally, 62 percent said they were in a recession—up from 57 percent last quarter
  • 69 percent changed spending habits to save—up from 67 percent last quarter
  • Discretionary spending patterns remained stable from last quarter

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q3 2012 Consumer Confidence Report.