Consumer Confidence Increases in Q1 2012, Nielsen Reports20 Jun, 2012 By: Jackie Jones
NEW YORK – Global consumer confidence kicked off 2012 on a high note, increasing five points in the first quarter of this year, according to Nielsen Co.
Overall confidence rose in 68 percent of measured global markets, compared to Q4 2011 when confidence increased in 21 percent of global markets, Nielsen’s survey found.
“Households around the globe experience brighter personal situations in terms of jobs and personal finances last quarter, especially in the U.S. and Asia, which was reflected with improved consumer confidence and higher discretionary spending,” said Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “While global economic conditions are more stable than in the depths of the European sovereign debt crisis late last year, underlying economic conditions are still fragile and fluid in many parts of the world, which could affect consumer confidence and spending momentum for the coming quarter.”
In the U.S., consumer confidence rose nine points to 92, it’s highest level since before the recession. China’s consumer confidence increased two points to 110, it’s highest level since 2005, according to Nielsen’s report.
“Major economic indicators in China are still at reasonable levels, while the global economic condition is complicated,” said Yan Xuan, president of Nielsen Greater China. “The government’s firm support for small- and medium-sized enterprises through the expansion of credit, a policy shift to create domestic consumption and demand, and the continued enforcement of restrictions designed to deflate the real estate bubble are all contributing to Chinese consumers’ optimism.”
Other highlights of Nielsen’s survey included:
• 57 percent of consumers around the world indicated they were in a recession, down from 64 percent last quarter.
• 55 percent of global online consumers described their personal finances for the next 12 months as excellent/good, up from 52 percent in Q4 2011.
• 33 percent of global online consumers said it was a good time to buy things they needed or wanted.
• Local job prospects improved globally by six percentage points in Q1 2012, yet only 48 percent perceived the outlook for the upcoming year as favorable.
Consumer concern for the economy remained a top worry among one in five global respondents, according to Nielsen.
“The jump in U.S. confidence is not entirely surprising given respectable job gains in the past quarter,” said James Russo, vice president of global consumer insights at Nielsen. “However, this is not yet a rising tide raising all ships as the U.S. was dealt a below expectations March job report, followed by a spike in new unemployment claims in April. Furthermore, according to Nielsen’s analysis, consumer households earning over $100,000 continue to generate gains in consumer spending and shopping trips, while nearly 50 percent of Americans in the lower income brackets struggle. The near-term outlook for the American consumer will be heavily impacted on how the labor market behaves, especially for middle-class and lower income consumers.”