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U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises in Second Quarter, Along with Political Stability Concerns
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U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises in Second Quarter, Along with Political Stability Concerns

Though global consumer confidence remained flat in the second quarter of 2016, confidence in the U.S. maintained positive momentum, increasing three points to 113 from the previous quarter. In fact, confidence has been at or above the optimism baseline of 100 for more than two years (since first quarter-2014).

More than of half of U.S. respondents were confident that personal finances (70%), immediate-spending intentions (58%) and job prospects (56%) would be good or excellent in the next 12 months. Furthermore, each indicator improved from the first quarter. Personal finance sentiment and immediate-spending intentions increased two percentage points each in the second quarter, and the outlook for jobs rose four percentage points.

“With U.S. unemployment at a rate of 5% or below since August 2015 and the housing market continuing to expand, American consumers have been spending,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “However, not all sectors are benefiting equally. Packaged good retail sectors, in particular, are experiencing slower growth than that of overall consumer spending. Moreover, retail channels that are more value-oriented have grown more slowly, as price growth—more than volume growth—has driven sales growth. Value-focused retail channels, such as club retailers and dollar stores, grew more slowly than convenience stores and drugstore channels did.”

In the U.S., about one-third of respondents (34%) said the economy was their biggest or second-biggest concern, with that worry followed by terrorism (17%), health (17%), debt (15%) and job security (14%). Anxieties about political stability increased 10 percentage points from the same quarter last year to 14% of respondents—a level that held steady from the first quarter of this year.

In Canada, confidence increased two points to 95 in the second quarter after a six-point decline in the first quarter, as all three confidence indicators improved. More than half of Canadian respondents said personal finances would be good or excellent in the next 12 months (58%), an increase of two percentage points from the first quarter. While favorable job prospect sentiment (41%) and immediate-spending intentions (39%) also increased in the second quarter—rising four and two percentage points, respectively—they remained at relatively low levels.

The economy was the biggest or second-biggest concern for 29% of Canadian respondents, representing no change from the first quarter. Canadian respondents also expressed concern about increasing food prices (25% of respondents, down three percentage points from Q1), health (21%, up five percentage points), debt (20%, down four percentage points) and increasing utility bills (17%, up one percentage point).

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.
  • 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.