Global Consumer Confidence stayed relatively consistent for more than a year, declining one index point in the second quarter to a score of 96, according to global performance management company Nielsen's Consumer Confidence Index Report.
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries. The global survey was fielded May 11-29, 2015, during a time when news of the Greek debt crisis was developing.
The survey found confidence up in China, India, Japan and the Philippines while it showed a decline in 10 other Asia-Pacific countries.
The Philippines showed the biggest quarterly confidence increase of seven index points, rising to a score of 122—the country's highest level on record. Confidence also increased one point each in India (131), China (107) and Japan (83) from the first quarter.
“In China, consumers' desire to spend is growing, especially in the lower-tier cities and in the rural parts of the country,” said Yan Xuan, president, Nielsen Greater China. “The East China region is leading the country's economic transformation with the highest confidence and spending intention levels and where online, offline, traditional and specialty channels are converging and driving upgraded product choices.”
According to the survey, signs of improvement are evident in Europe.Despite the recent Eurozone economic uncertainty, consumer confidence grew throughout the European region in the second quarter, as 21 of 32 markets (65 per cent) were more optimistic than at the start of the year. But confidence in Germany, Europe's largest economy, declined three index points to 97—the first decline in a year. In the U.K., confidence increased two points to 99—the sixth consecutive quarter of increases. Regionally, confidence increased most in the Ukraine (48), rising seven index points from the first quarter, but still leaving the country far below 100, the equilibrium point of pessimism/optimism.
Confidence in Greece, however, declined by 12 index points to 53 - the largest quarterly decrease of the 60 countries in the survey. Confidence also declined by four points in both Ireland (88) and Italy (53).
“Consumer confidence in Eurozone markets has been relatively stable, with the notable exception of Greece. While quantitative easing is largely viewed as doing as intended, Europe is now moving through the Greek debt crisis. A relatively strong starting point for confidence will support consumer spending as the crisis unfolds,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute.
The survey found Latin America sliding deeper into a recessionary market. Consumer confidence declined in six of seven Latin American markets with Brazil (81) reporting the steepest drop of seven index points from the first quarter. The decline represents the third consecutive quarter of declines for the region's largest economy, and the score is the lowest Nielsen has ever recorded (the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index was established in 2005).
In Brazil, sentiment for the three economic indicators hit new lows, as future job prospects declined four percentage points to 23 per cent, personal finances sentiment decreased four percentage points to 56 per cent, and immediate spending intentions declined nine percentage points to 32 per cent. Nearly all Brazilian respondents believe they are in recession, as the sentiment increased five percentage points to 90 per cent from the first quarter.
Peru's index (95) declined four points, followed by declines of three points each in Chile (84) and Venezuela (62). Consumer confidence in Mexico (84) and Colombia (93) declined two and one point, respectively, from the first quarter. Argentina was the only country measured in the region with a confidence boost, rising six points to 81 in the second quarter.
In North America, US consumer confidence decreased six index points in the second quarter to a score of 101, but remained at an above-the-baseline optimistic level. “Confidence in the US remains at elevated levels,” said James Russo, senior vice president, Nielsen Global Consumer Insights. “However, it's an uneven recovery, as more than half of Americans still feel the effects of the recession and nearly 40 per cent are still living paycheque to paycheque.”
Consumer confidence in Canada, however, increased two points to 98, after declining six points in the first quarter. Immediate spending intentions increased four percentage points in the second quarter to 41 per cent, reversing the decline from the first quarter.
Consumer confidence decreased in three of five countries measured in the Middle East/Africa region and held steady in two in the second quarter. At 108, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had the highest index in the region, but it decreased seven points from the first quarter—the biggest quarterly decline in six years. Confidence declined five points in Egypt to 85 and two points in Saudi Arabia to 105. Confidence levels in Pakistan (102) and South Africa (87) were unchanged from the first quarter.
According to the survey, consumer confidence increased eight index points in Kenya (112) and three points in Nigeria (132) in the second quarter. Conversely, confidence decreased five points in Ghana (94), the second consecutive quarter of declines. The outlook for jobs increased significantly in Nigeria and Kenya, rising 11 and eight percentage points, respectively, from the first quarter. Eighty-five percent of Nigerian respondents and 67 per cent of Kenya respondents believe the state of their personal finances are good/excellent, up two and three percentage points, respectively. Conversely, sentiment for all three indicators declined in Ghana.