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Q2 Spending in Europe Stagnated; Actions to Save Money Increased
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Q2 Spending in Europe Stagnated; Actions to Save Money Increased

Europeans remained in a spending holding pattern in the second quarter and increased their actions to save on household expenses as unemployment rates in many European markets were high and confidence in the economic outlook for the rest of the year remained weak.

Fewer European respondents planned to spend discretionary income on holidays/vacations, out-of-home entertainment, home improvements and new technology products, declining 1 percentage point each from three months ago, according to findings from the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. One-third of European respondents planned to put spare cash into savings, and 21 percent had no spare cash to spend.

Looking for ways to save, half of European respondents spent less on new clothes (56%), cut down on out-of-home entertainment (54%), switched to cheaper grocery brands (50%) and tried to save on gas and electricity (48%). Four-in-10 respondents cut back on holidays (43%) and take-away meals (41%). Roughly one-third spent less on telephone expenses (36%), delayed upgrading technology (36%)/major household items (33%), used their car less often (32%) and did not take an annual vacation (31%).

Consumer confidence in Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, held steady with an index of 90 for the second straight quarter. Confidence increased in the U.K. by four index points to a score of 79. Second-quarter confidence declines were reported in Russia (80), France (53), and Italy (41), declining one, one, one, and three index points, respectively.

“German economic indicators in May 2013 had an impact on consumer confidence, which remains stable in Germany,” said Ingo Schier, managing director, Nielsen Germany. “While the number of registered job-seekers declined for the first time in five months below the mark of three million, recent wage and salary negotiations between trade unions and employers led to salary rises in many sectors. Additionally, the German DAX registered an unprecedented record high in May. But Germans’ consumer confidence stands on shaky ground. According to predictions, economic growth may continue to decline with the Euro zone stuck in recession.”

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 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

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Other findings include:

  • Global consumer confidence increased one index point to 94 in Q2.
  • The recessionary sentiment in North America dropped to lowest level since the Great Recession.
  • Quarterly confidence rose in all regions except Latin America.
  • Confidence in Middle East/Africa returned to its Q4 2012 level.
  • Discretionary spending intentions improved in Asia-Pacific.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q2 2013 Global Consumer Confidence Report.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between May 13–31, 2013, 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 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China.