Tepid consumer confidence hinges on global developments

by Erica Shaffer
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NEW YORK – Global consumer confidence remains above pre-recession levels, but slight dips reflect concern over current geopolitical tensions and slowing growth in emerging markets, according to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions report.

In Nielsen's most recent online survey, conducted Nov. 10-28, 2014, consumer confidence increased in 17 of 60 markets compared with 39 markets that saw increases in the third quarter. Ireland (90) showed the most improvement in consumer confidence with a 6 percentage point gain. Italy reported the lowest score (45) a quarterly decline of two points. Confidence in Malaysia (89) dropped 10 points from the previous quarter, the biggest decline of all markets measured by Nielsen.

"Confidence in more than half of the global markets measured retreated slightly in the fourth quarter with continued geopolitical tensions and some slowing in emerging-market growth,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen and president, The Demand Institute. “Latin American markets, such as Brazil, saw particularly large declines in confidence compared with last quarter and a year ago, reflective of the economic slowdown there. While recovery in Europe continues to be weak, and there is recent speculation of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank, confidence is still up slightly in most economies from a year ago, suggesting that fears of yet another eurozone recession have not yet hit overall consumers’ outlook. In the US, where labor markets have continued to recover, confidence is up significantly from its level a year ago."

Regional trends show consumer confidence in the fourth quarter declined one point in North America (106) and Asia-Pacific (106), Nielsen reported. The Middle East/Africa (95) region reported a 1 point decline; Latin America (88) registered a decline of 3 points while confidence in Europe (76) slipped two points from the previous quarter.

In the fourth quarter, consumer confidence retreated two points in the United States (106), four points in China (107) and four points in Japan (73). However, consumer confidence gained one point in Germany (98) and the United Kingdom (94).
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