Consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific increased in nine of 14 markets measured by Nielsen in the first quarter, compared to only three that rose in the fourth-quarter 2014. Nine markets in the region remained at or above the 100-baseline level of optimism. At 130, India reached its highest level since 2011—a one-point increase from fourth-quarter 2014. The score was also the highest in the region and of the 60 countries measured in Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions Survey. Confidence in India has been on the rise for six consecutive quarters.
“The urban Indian consumer started the year with positive sentiment in anticipation of improvement through reforms and stimulus announced by the new government,” said Piyush Mathur, president, Nielsen India Region. “These initial signs of optimism reflect anticipation of economic recovery that has yet to manifest when you look at fast-moving consumer goods and auto sectors in particular over the last few quarters. Moreover, infrastructure, engineering and other industrial sectors are yet to gather pace. The fall in inflation is expected to have an impact on disposable income over time, but it will take time for the sectors to be restored to perceptible and sustainable growth.”
In the region, big index increases were reported in Taiwan, where confidence rose 11 points to 88—the highest score there since 2011—and in Japan, where confidence rose nine points to 88—the highest score for the country recorded by Nielsen since 2005.
“Japanese consumers felt an improvement in their employment situation in the first quarter, and more consumers believed it was a good time to spend,” said Toshihiro Fukutoku, managing director, Nielsen Japan. “These findings align with the trend reported in the latest consumer confidence survey by the Government of Japan, as perception indices for ‘living circumstances’, ‘timing to purchase durable goods’, ‘employment environment’, ‘income increase’ and ‘asset value’ all improved. Thanks to the recent decline in oil prices, the weaker Yen and a boost in tourism, retailers are rather optimistic in their expectations for continuous growth in consumer spending.”
Other bright spots in the region included Vietnam and Malaysia, reporting strong confidence boosts of six and five points, respectively, in the first quarter. Vietnam’s rise to a score of 112 is the third consecutive increase and the country’s highest score since 2010. Conversely, China’s index fell one point to 106 in the first quarter, which comes after a four-point decline in fourth-quarter 2014.
“Despite the slight decline in overall consumer confidence, Chinese consumers’ willingness to spend kept growing, especially among consumers from lower-tier cities,” said Oliver Rust, managing director of Nielsen China. “With the increasing disposable income of Chinese consumers, the well-controlled CPI, and the rapid development of e-commerce worldwide, we believe the huge potential of Chinese consumers will be further unleashed. Meanwhile, our survey also shows that confidence in East China is leading the momentum in the country and is expected to show strong vitality in the future.”
Other findings include:
- Global consumers opt to save extra cash on hand, pull back on discretionary spending.
- Concerns about the economy and job security decreased while health and work/life balance concerns increased.
- U.S. job prospects show growth, but spending intentions were restrained.
- Confidence in Latin America declines to the lowest level since 2011.
- Recession-battered Italy and Greece bounce back with 12-point quarterly confidence increases.
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q1 2015 Global Consumer Confidence Report.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Feb. 23 – March 13, 2015 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 its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The sub-Saharan African countries in this study are compiled from a separate mobile methodology survey among 1,600 respondents in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.