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Steady As She Goes: Consumer Confidence Remains Flat in Second Quarter 2016
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Steady As She Goes: Consumer Confidence Remains Flat in Second Quarter 2016

Global consumer confidence held steady in the second quarter of 2016 at 98, an index score that was flat from the first quarter and two points higher than a year earlier (second quarter of 2015). Confidence levels have been hovering between 96 and 99 in the three years since the first quarter of 2014. North America was the only region to sustain growth momentum in the second quarter, demonstrating a three-point increase in confidence to 111. All other regions remained essentially in a holding pattern, with relatively stable quarter-on-quarter index levels.

“Global economic growth continues to be sluggish, with wide variation in growth rates,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “Economic concerns such as weak commodity prices and job prospects, and political concerns, such as terrorism and political stability, have been higher among consumers in countries directly affected by situations such as terrorist attacks and soft commodity demand. Still, in many markets consumer spending continues to be a bright spot. Consumer confidence, while below 100 in many countries, has remained stable, on average, over the past several quarters.”

A year ago, only 12 markets out of 61 covered in the survey reached the optimism benchmark of 100—a number that was unchanged in the most recent second-quarter results (12 out of 63 markets). Markets reaching or exceeding a score of 100 in the second quarter of 2016 included: the Philippines, India, Indonesia, U.S., Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Peru and Thailand. All of these countries—with the exception of Peru, where confidence exceeded the optimism benchmark in the second quarter with a score of 102—maintained an optimistic level in the annual time period. Conversely, Hong Kong’s score of 105 in the second quarter of 2015 declined 18 points in the past year to 87 in the second quarter of 2016.

In the latest online survey, conducted May 9-27, 2016, consumer confidence increased in just over half (56%) of measured markets. Among the world’s largest economies, the U.S. had a consumer confidence score of 113, marking the 10th consecutive quarter in which the U.S. score was at or above the optimism baseline. In both China (with an index of 106) and the U.K. (98), confidence increased one index point each from the previous quarter, and it decreased one point in Germany (96). In Japan (69), confidence decreased four points; it was Japan’s fourth consecutive quarter of declining scores.

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. Period-to-period movements at a country level 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 include:

  • Confidence in the Philippines reached a country-level high of 132, fueled by increased optimism about job prospects, spending intentions and personal finance sentiment.
  • Nearly one-quarter of European respondents (24%) said terrorism was their biggest or second-biggest concern, and increase of two percentage points from the first quarter.
  • U.S. consumer confidence (113) has been at or above the optimism baseline of 100 for more than two years (since first-quarter 2014).
  • Latin American consumer confidence remained flat in the second quarter at 78, while country-level scores ranged from 102 in Peru to 58 in Venezuela.
  • Consumer confidence in all three sub-Saharan markets measured by Nielsen (Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya) reported an index score above 100.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s second quarter 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 May 9–27, 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.