Planning for the future grew in importance around the world in the third quarter, as more global consumers expressed a focus on saving and investing than they did three months earlier. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence, more than half (52%) of global respondents said they are putting spare cash into savings, and one-fourth (25%) said they are investing in shares of stocks and mutual funds, representing increases of 5 and 6 percentage points, respectively, compared to Q2. Investment sentiment increased in 57 percent of 60 markets measured, with marked increases, and a return to pre-recession levels, in China (56%), India (34%) and the U.S. (14%).
Paying off debts, credit cards and loans was the priority for 28 percent of global respondents, an increase from 25 percent in the second quarter. Four-in-10 (38%) North Americans said they intend to pay off debts, a quarterly increase of 7 percentage points. One-third (34%) of Latin American respondents focused on debt reduction, a decline of 3 percentage points compared to the second quarter. One-fourth of Asia-Pacific (25%) and Europe (26%) respondents, and one-fifth (18%) of Middle East/Africa respondents said they plan to reduce their outstanding bills in the third quarter.
Saving for retirement was most pronounced in Asia-Pacific (20%) and North America (16%), reporting quarterly increases of 6 and 5 percentage points, respectively. Respondents in China (25%) and India (27%) exceeded the regional average for planning ahead for their golden years, reporting increases of 10 and 8 percentage points, respectively, compared with three months ago.
Other findings include:
- Consumers around the world are ready to spend, but conditioned to save.
- Optimism is slowly returning to the U.S. and Western Europe.
- Recession-battered Europe showed signs of recovery in Q3.
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q3 2013 Global Consumer Confidence Report.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between Aug. 14 and Sept. 6, 2013, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 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.