NIELSEN GLOBAL CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SCORES REFLECT ECONOMIC DIVERSITY AROUND THE WORLD
Global consumer confidence scores ranged from a low of 46 to a high of 133
These are uncertain times and third quarter Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index scores have varied dramatically region to region, demonstrating 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 that confidence gains throughout most markets in Asia-Pacific (and no declines from the previous quarter), Latin America, and Europe; however, conversely, it has declined in four of six Africa/Middle East markets, as well as one of the two North American markets. Regionally, the score of Asia-Pacific reaching 109 has increased two-points from the second quarter, followed by North America at 105, which has declined six points. Confidence in Africa/Middle East fell two points to 87; in Latin America, it posted its first upswing this year, 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, having the region return 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, the executive vice president of Retail Vertical, 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.”
Taiwan Consumer Confidence Index also increased 2 points from last quarter to 75, driven by the growth of immediate-spending intentions from 20% in quarter 2 of 2016 to 26% in this one; and the optimistic percentage growth of personal finance was from 32% to 35%. However, the percentage of positive job prospects decreased 2 percentage points to 11%.
According to this report, over 8 in 10 Taiwan (86%) respondents thought that Taiwan is under economic recession, with 6 percentage points less than last quarter; however, among those respondents, there were still over half (57%) thinking that Taiwan wouldn’t be out of recession in the coming 12 months. As a result, economy (44%) is still on the top of the list of the biggest concerns with said percentage continuing to increase, followed by job security (20%), health (18%), work/life balance (16%), and food price increase (14%).
Facing the uncertainty and the concerns over job security and economy, around 6 out of 10 Taiwan respondents changed their spending to save on household expenses, including cutting down on out-of-home entertainment (49%), spending less on new clothes and cutting down on holidays/short breaks (both are 41%); switching to cheaper grocery brands (36%), as well as delaying the replacement of major household items and delaying upgrading technology (both are 33%) are the top actions Taiwan consumers have taken in order to save on household expenses.
Conservative in spending and “save-for-a-rainy-day” remain Taiwan consumers’ mindset; after covering all essential living expenses, putting into savings (60%) is still on the top of the “spare cash utilizing list”, with 5 percentage points decreased comparing to quarter 2 of 2016, followed by 2 more saving activities. More specifically, the two mentioned 2 activities are the retirement fund (38%) and investing in shares of stock/mutual funds (37%) and the former was of 6 percentage points increased from last quarter. The real consumption actions were holidays / vacations (31%) and out-of-home entertainment (20%) were listed on No. 4 and No. 5 respectively, with 2 and 1 percentage points increased.
Established in 2005, the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is fielded quarterly in 63 countries to measure the perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances, immediate spending intentions and related economic issues of real consumers around the world. Consumer confidence levels above and below show a baseline of 100 indicating degrees of optimism and pessimism respectively.
Notable global highlights include:
● Global consumer confidence increased one point from the second quarter to a score of 99.
● Confidence gains were seen throughout most measured markets in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe. Meanwhile, confidence decreased in four of six Africa/Middle East markets and in one of the two North American markets.
● Five of the world’s top 10 economies posted optimistic scores of 100 or higher: U.S. (106), China (106), U.K. (106), Germany (100), and India (133).
● Concerns over 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 score of U, K. increased eight points.
● In Asia-Pacific, confidence increased in 10 of 14 countries, while four markets were flat from the second quarter. Robust improvements came from Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore.
● In Latin America, confidence increased in six of the seven markets, including Brazil, which posted its first upswing in two years.
● In the Africa/Middle East region, South Africa posted a solid confidence increase of nine points.
U.S. consumer confidence remained on solid footing in the third quarter with a score of 106, despite a decline of seven points from the second quarter. Confidence in personal-finance sentiment (61%) and immediate spending intentions (52%) both declined, which were of decreasing of nine and six percentage points respectively from the second quarter.
“Though the U.S. labor market is strong—with employment and wages rising—this is an uncertain time for Americans with the approaching election and continued terrorism concerns,” said Keely. “While consumer confidence has not been severely dented, consumer uncertainty is reflected in the moderate weakening of discretionary spending intentions.”
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The second-quarter online survey was conducted Aug. 10–Sept. 2, 2016. The findings in this survey are based on an online methodology in 63 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration is still growing, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Three sub-Saharan African countries (Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria) utilize a mobile survey methodology and are not included in the global or Middle East/Africa averages discussed throughout this report. In addition, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data. Cultural differences in reporting sentiment are likely factors in the measurement of economic outlook across countries. The reported results do not attempt to control or correct for these differences; therefore, caution should be exercised when comparing across countries and regions, particularly across regional boundaries.
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. The Company’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Nielsen 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