Nearly one in four (24%) Britons felt positive about their job prospects in Q2 2013, the highest level since Q1 2008 (34%) – according to the latest figures from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.
The number of British consumers who feel positive about their job prospects is now in line with the European average (also 24%), and while well ahead of those in France (9%), Spain (8%) and Italy (4%), remains only half that of those in Germany (49%).
Consumer confidence hits highest level for more than three years
The optimism around UK job prospects contributed to an overall rise in Britain’s consumer confidence index, which rose to 79 in Q2 2013, jumping four points on the previous quarter. The last time the index was higher than 79 was more than three years ago in Q1 2010 (80). Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
Consumer confidence in the UK is now further outstripping the European average, which remained flat at 71 for the third consecutive quarter. In France (53) it dropped one point, in Spain (48) it rose two points and Italy (41) it dropped three points.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions each quarter among more than 29,000 internet consumers in 58 countries.
Positivity regarding recessionary sentiment also hits five-year high
The number of consumers believing that the UK is in a recession has dropped six points to 81 percent. This is now at its lowest level since Q1 2008 (65%).
The numbers feeling positive about their personal finances jumped from 36 percent in Q1 2013 to 41 percent in Q2 2013. While this matches other recent highs, this level hasn’t been surpassed since Q3 2007 (54%), five-and-a-half years ago.
Positive spending behaviour rises
The number of UK consumers feeling that now is a good time to make purchases rose by six percentage points on the previous quarter to 34 percent in Q2 2013. The last time it was higher than 34 percent was five-and-a-half years ago in Q3 2007 (39%).
The numbers who say they have changed their spending habits to save money dropped to 65 percent in Q2 2013 – the lowest level for three years (63% in Q2 2010). This compares to 84 percent of Spaniards, 81 percent of Italians, 64 percent of French and only 32 percent of German consumers.
Finances still dominate biggest concerns
When looking at UK consumers’ first and second biggest concerns, the top five from a list of 20 are financial. After ‘rising utility bills’ (a top-two concern for 27 percent of people, down from 31 percent the previous quarter) comes the economy (24%), job security (21 %), rising food prices (20%) and debt (16%).
“With the bounce in consumer confidence reflected in recent healthy key metrics for the economy, we can see some momentum for a long awaited recovery,” says Nielsen managing director for UK & Ireland Chris Morley. “The UK has seen its growth for 2013 upgraded so the short to medium term looks better than it has done for a while. However, financial issues are still dominating people’s concerns, and consumers will need to see stronger signposts that the economy is improving before they become less cautious about spending.”
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, 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 behaviour 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. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.