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Are We In a Global Recession? More than Half Say Yes
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Are We In a Global Recession? More than Half Say Yes

Concerns about global recessionary conditions subsided slightly in Q4 2012, but negative sentiment about the economy remains considerable for a majority of consumers around the world. More than half of global online respondents (59%) said they were in an economic recession in Q4 2012, an improvement from 62 percent in Q3, according to findings from the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. While seven in 10 North Americans (71%) believed they were in a recession in Q4, that number represents a 15-percentage point drop from Q4 2011, representing the biggest recessionary mindset improvement among all regions.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries.

“North America is slowly, but steadily heading in the right direction,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “Compared with a year ago, North America showed progress toward recovery with a six-point year-on-year consumer confidence increase, driven mainly by a three-point increase in a positive job outlook, up from 37 percent in Q4 2011 to 40 percent in Q4 2012. With continued weakness in Europe and uneven growth in Asia, it may well be that with a brighter job market, the U.S. serves as the critical engine of improved global economic activity in 2013.”

Less than half (48%) of Asia-Pacific respondents and half (50%) of Latin Americans said they were in a recession in Q4, a decline of four and three percentage points, respectively, from Q3. Three-quarters of Europeans remained mired in a recessionary point of view, and 73 percent of Middle East/African respondents said they were in a recession, an increase of one percentage point from Q3.

Europeans were the most pessimistic about the economic future, as 64 percent said they believed the recession would live on for another 12 months, up three percentage points from Q3. In North America, 55 percent of respondents also believed the recession would not be over in the year, but it was an improvement from 58 percent in Q3. Forty percent of Asia-Pacific and Latin American respondents and 36 percent of Middle East/Africa respondents expected the recession to live on for another year.

Other notable findings include:

  • North Americans were more optimistic about job prospects and recessionary conditions than in Q3
  • Declining confidence in Europe spread from troubled to core countries
  • Consumer confidence in developing Asia-Pacific markets outperformed developed ones
  • Latin Americans were confident for the year ahead
  • Consumer confidence declined among Middle Easterners and Africans

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q4 2012 Global Consumer Confidence Report.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Nov. 10-27, 2012 and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10 million online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.