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Asia-Pacific Consumer Confidence in Q4 2012 Was Stronger in Developing Markets Than Developed Ones
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Asia-Pacific Consumer Confidence in Q4 2012 Was Stronger in Developing Markets Than Developed Ones

Consumer confidence fell in eight of 14 Asia-Pacific markets measured in Q4 2012, compared with Q3, according to findings from the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. However, the Asia-Pacific region reported the highest consumer confidence score (101) compared to the other regions: Middle East/Africa (96); Latin America (96); North America (90); and Europe (71).

Consumer confidence in India increased two points from Q3 to 121, the highest of all global markets measured, followed by the Philippines, which increased one point to 119, and Indonesia, which declined two points to 117. Thailand (up 3 to 115), China (up 2 to 108) and Malaysia (down 2 to 103) also all scored above the baseline of 100. Hong Kong (85) and Taiwan (66) reported four-point declines each. South Korea reported the lowest confidence in the region with an index of 38, down two points from Q3, followed by Japan, which held steady with an index of 59.

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. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

“Similar to Europe, we are seeing an increasingly polarized Asia-Pacific region,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “On one hand, high-population markets with a robust domestic consumption base such as China, India and Indonesia have climbed out of a global recession and remained optimistic about the future. On the other hand, export-dependent developed markets such as South Korea and Taiwan are more exposed to precarious global economic conditions. Confidence in Hong Kong, the region’s financial center, has been hit hard as consumers feel particularly sensitive to the Euro zone crisis as well as any potential political and economic changes from elections and new leadership in the world’s biggest economies.”

“In Q4, China’s economy showed positive signs of a rebound with better than expected data for manufacturing, exports and investment which lifted consumers’ optimism for job prospects and personal finances in 2013,” said Yan Xuan, president, Nielsen Greater China. “While discretionary spending remained restrained across all lifestyle areas in Q4, Chinese consumers became less concerned for the economy.”

“The Indian consumer has picked up confidence and pace from the third quarter and comes back to lead the global index for the last quarter of 2012,” said Piyush Mathur, president, Nielsen India. “The resilience of Indian consumers in the continuing inflationary period is still apparent and they are being wooed by manufacturers and retailers who are now sensitized to their pressures. Another phenomenon that has also fed into the buoyancy and confidence are two growing shopper segments in the country, low-income value explorers and first-time modern trade shoppers, who are slated to add $3B USD to fast-moving consumer goods sales in India by 2015. Further, the aspirational Indian consumer is willing to upgrade products and they want to partake in the best the market has to offer, which is balanced by the value-conscious consumer as well.”

Other notable findings include:

  • North Americans were more optimistic about job prospects and recessionary conditions than in Q3
  • 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

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.