Global consumer confidence edged up one index point in the third quarter to a score of 98—an increase of one point from the previous quarter and two points from the start of the year. The index, which has been on a slow and steady rise for two-and-a-half years (since Q1 2012), has now exceeded a pre-recession level of 94 for three consecutive quarters.
Taiwan consumer confidence went up four points from last quarter and bounced back to the level of Q1 2013. Taiwan’s rising consumer confidence is mainly driven by the percentage of positive perceptions toward job opportunities and willingness to spend. Thus, the percentage of respondents in Taiwan that believe they are in an economic recession declined 8 percentage points from Q2 2014, the lowest level since Q2 2012. Three in four, however, still consider Taiwan to be in economic recession. As a result, the economy (40%) is Taiwan consumers’ biggest concern and ranks No. 3 around the globe. It’s worth noting that consumers about health also increased 5 percentage points from last quarter to 17% likely due to recent food safety scandals affecting consumers on the island.
Willingness to spend among Taiwan consumers is increasing compared to last quarter, “save for a rainy day” is still the top-of-mind choice when considering how to spend spare cash. But saving (63%) is still the top priority among Taiwan respondents, followed by investing in shares of stock/mutual funds (30%). Eighteen percent (ranked No. 8 around the globe) would put their spare cash into a retirement fund.
“Conservative spending is indeed a long-lasting mind-set embedded in Taiwan consumers’ heart, however, based on the latest results, we still see a positive sign that Taiwan consumers now are increasing their spending in non-necessaries, such as out-of-home entertainment (29%) and new technology products (15%), both up 4 percentage points, while the percentage of respondents who are changing spending habits to save on household expense decreased 6 percentage points to 68%,” said Seren Su, senior director, Consumer Insights, Nielsen Taiwan.
In the latest online survey, conducted Aug. 13–Sept. 5, 2014, consumer confidence increased in sixty-five percent (65%) of the markets measured by Nielsen, compared to fifty-two percent (52%) in the second quarter. Among the world’s biggest economies, consumer confidence increased four points in the U.S. (108), one point in Germany (97), three points in the U.K. (93) and four points in Japan (77), from the second quarter. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in China held steady at 111 for the fourth consecutive quarter.
India’s score of 126 was the highest index of 60 markets, nevertheless, a decline of two points compared to the second quarter. Italy reported the lowest score of 47, a quarterly decline of four points. Australia (97) showed the biggest improvement, as confidence there returned to year-ago performance. Chile (85) logged the biggest decline, falling seven points compared to the previous quarter.
Consumer confidence in the North America region improved most, rising four points to 107—a score that matches Asia-Pacific’s index for the first time in Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence history (since 2005). Asia-Pacific’s index increased one point. Confidence also increased three points in the Middle East/Africa (96), one point in Latin America (91) and one point in Europe (78), from the previous quarter.
“Outside of North America, a range of region- and country-specific factors are translating into weaker and more uneven improvements in consumer confidence,” said Dr. Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen. “Europe is being directly affected by the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine, and is also at a critical policy juncture concerning steps to prevent deflation and improve growth. Among major emerging economies, while India is displaying renewed potential for accelerating growth from its new government, China is moving in a different direction as it re-orients its economy toward greater domestic consumption.”
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism, respectively. The latest results reflect an outlook of cautious optimism, as every region’s consumer confidence score improved compared to the previous quarter.
ABOUT THE NIELSEN GLOBAL SURVEY
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Aug. 13–Sept. 5, 2014 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.
Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.