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Consumer Confidence in Third-Quarter 2016 Reflected Economic Diversity Around the World
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Consumer Confidence in Third-Quarter 2016 Reflected Economic Diversity Around the World

Third-quarter 2016 global consumer confidence remained stable at 99, up one point from the second quarter and unchanged from third-quarter 2015. Country-level scores, however, varied dramatically throughout the regions, reflecting considerable economic diversity around the world. In Asia-Pacific, consumer confidence scores ranged from a high of 133 to a low of 46, with similar divergent scores in Europe (from 107 to 50), Latin America (from 104 to 57) and Africa/Middle East (from 108 to 70). In North America, however, confidence scores were more closely aligned in the U.S. (106) and Canada (97).

Overall, the latest survey showed confidence gains throughout most markets in Asia-Pacific (and no declines from the previous quarter), Latin America and Europe. Conversely, confidence declined in four of six Africa/Middle East markets and in one of two North American markets. Regionally, Asia-Pacific’s score of 109 increased two-points from the second quarter, followed by North America at 105, which declined six points. Confidence in Africa/Middle East fell two points to 87, while confidence in Latin America posted its first upswing in 2016, with a five-point rise to 83. Europe showed slow consumer confidence momentum: a one-point increase in the second quarter and a two-point rise in the third quarter returned the region to its year-ago score of 81.

“Economic circumstances still vary widely globally, and within regions such as Asia-Pacific. So it is notable that in the Asia-Pacific region, overall consumer confidence has been resilient, as have consumer spending trends,” said Louise Keely, executive vice president, Nielsen. “Still, Asia-Pacific is an area to watch: The region’s relatively strong growth is dependent in part on global economic conditions, including those of China.”

In the latest online survey, conducted Aug. 10-Sept. 2, 2016, five of the world’s top 10 economies posted scores of 100 or higher, up from three that reached the milestone in the second quarter. The U.K. (106) and Germany (100) joined India (133), the U.S. (106) and China (106) with at- or above-baseline consumer confidence scores in the third quarter. Index levels for the other five biggest economies showed mixed levels of below-the-baseline pessimism: Canada (97), Brazil (84), Japan (71), France (69) and Italy (57). In total, 16 of 63 markets—representing countries from all five regions and marking four more markets than the second quarter—reported optimistic levels above 100.

In the emerging BRICS markets, Brazil posted a confidence upswing of 10 points in the third quarter. “Brazil appears to be through the worst and perhaps set to rebound,” said Keely. “Consumer confidence reflects the increased optimism about overall economic prospects. If Brazil is able to successfully pull out of recession and consumer spending can recover, that would contribute to overall strength in the region.”

The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate-spending intentions. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism, respectively. Within a country, period-to-period movements of seven points or more are considered statistically significant. At a global level, movements of two points are statistically significant; at a regional level, three- to four-point movements are statistically significant. The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with internet access in 63 countries.

Other findings from the Q3 Global Consumer Confidence Report include:

  • Concerns about terrorism increased across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific in the third quarter.
  • In Europe, consumer confidence improved in 26 of 34 measured markets from the second quarter.
  • The economy was the biggest or second-biggest concern for 31% of U.S. respondents and 29% of Canadian respondents in the third quarter.
  • Brazil, the largest market measured in the Latin America region, posted its first consumer confidence upswing in two years, rising 10 points to 84 from the second quarter.
  • South Africa posted a solid confidence increase of nine points in the Africa/Middle East region.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q3 2016 Global Consumer Confidence Report. If you would like more detailed country-level data from this survey, it is available for sale in the Nielsen Store.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Aug. 10–Sept. 2, 2016, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 63 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. 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.