U.S. Consumer Confidence Remained Resilient at 110
India (134) and Indonesia (117) are Bright Spots Among Asian Growth Markets
Global consumer confidence remained stable in the first quarter and below the optimism baseline score of 100, edging up one index point to 98. The score reflected mixed confidence levels in every region. In the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, consumer confidence increased in 33% of measured markets (20 of 61 markets), and Taiwan is one of them with 7 index points increase to 76, compared to 43% of measured markets showing an increase in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Nielsen consumer confidence index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions.
Taiwan consumer confidence index increased because of all factors, including job prospects, the state of personal finances, and good time to buy needed items all show an increase of 4, 5 and 6 percentage points respectively. However, 85% respondents considered Taiwan now in the economic recession; among them, over half (57%) said that Taiwan wouldn’t be out of said recession. As a result, the economy is still Taiwan consumers’ biggest/second biggest concern in the next 6 months, followed by health (21%) with 6 percentage points of growth comparing to last quarter, surpassing job security (20%) and work/life balance (17%).
How do Taiwan consumers utlize their spare cash after essential living expenses are covered? Putting into savings (63%) remains on the top with 4 percentage point declines comparing to last quarter, followed by investing shares of stock/mutual funds (35%) and holidays/vacations (32%), which were with 4 percentage points both. Out-of-home entertainment shows 6 percentage point declines to 21%, and buying new clothes also decreased from 22% to 13%; in contrast, putting into retirement funds grew from 20% to 30%.
“Though Taiwan consumer confidence index increased, two-third (66%) respondents have changed their spending habits, including cutting down out-of-home entertainments (49%), spending less on new clothes (46%), cutting down on holidays/short breaks (42%), and switching to cheaper grocery brands (38%) to save on household expenses. We expect thatTaiwan consumers will remain conservative and cautious on spending,” said Senior Director Seren Su of Consumer Insights, Nielsen Taiwan.
“While the global consumer confidence index has been largely unchanged over the past several quarters, beneath that we see a fair amount of variation in the confidence of individual countries,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “While 11 countries out of 61 saw their confidence increase five or more points relative to a year ago, 21 saw confidence fall five or more points compared to the first quarter of 2015. There is no one cause for these shifts in confidence; the reasons are market-specific. In many oil-exporting countries, confidence is down relative to a year ago as oil prices fell—even though oil prices have increased slightly in early 2016. At the same time, in some European markets such as Spain and Portugal confidence is up markedly from a year ago, as unemployment rates have fallen and consumer price inflation has not yet picked up.”
In the world’s largest economy, the U.S. consumer confidence score of 110 remained at or above the optimism baseline for nine consecutive quarters. More than of half of U.S respondents were confident that personal finances (68%), immediate spending intentions (56%) and job prospects (52%) would be good or excellent in the next 12 months.
“The U.S. economy continues to be driven by consumers,” said Keely. “Enough jobs are being added that unemployment is falling, the participation rate is finally rising, and wage growth is sound. U.S. consumer sentiment is consistent with recent spending growth and a robust housing market that result from stronger labor markets. Still, confidence is subject to influence by overall political and economic volatility that Americans experience—for instance the U.S. presidential election cycle, global economic uncertainty as well as recent terrorism concerns. We continue to watch the American confidence closely.”
India (with an index of 134) and Indonesia (117) are bright spots among Asian growth markets with confidence up three and two points respectively from the previous quarter. All three confidence indicators increased from the previous quarter in both countries with job sentiment, personal finances and immediate spending intentions at consistently high levels. The Philippines (119) and Vietnam (109) are other positive growth stories among emerging markets in the region, as consistently high consumer confidence scores continued to edge up by two and one percentage, respectively, in the first quarter.
In China, consumer confidence edged down two points to 105, as the share expressing a positive outlook for jobs in the next year declined five percentage points to 60%—the lowest level since 2010. Confidence also declined 11 points in Hong Kong (88) and six points in Japan (73). In both Hong Kong and Japan, positive job sentiment levels showed double-digit declines in terms of percentages, falling 23 points in Hong Kong (22%) and 12 points in Japan (23%). Personal finance sentiment also declined 15 percentage points in Hong Kong to 42%—the lowest level since 2012.
*Belarus and Kazakhstan are two markets added to the Nielsen Global Survey in the first quarter of 2016, bringing the total number of countries measured in the online survey to 63.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted March 1–23, 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.
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.