European Consumer Confidence Reaches Highest Regional Score In Five Years

European Consumer Confidence Reaches Highest Regional Score In Five Years

Though global consumer confidence declined one index point in the second quarter of 2015 to a score of 96, the European region increased two points to 79—the highest regional score in five years. In fact, 21 of 32 European markets (65%) were more optimistic than at the start of the year. Confidence in Germany, the region’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. Denmark’s score of 112—an increase of six points—is the country’s highest level since third-quarter 2009. Russia also increased six points to 78, as job prospects and immediate spending intentions grew seven and four percentage points, respectively. France’s score of 66, a rise of six points, is the country’s highest score since second-quarter 2011.

Not all countries in Europe reported positive performance in the second quarter, and several countries reversed their first quarter confidence gains. Confidence in Greece declined by 12 index points to a score of 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).

“German consumer confidence showed a slight setback in the second quarter, but persistently low interest rates and stable economic output are indicative of a consumer climate that is generally positive,” said Ingo Schier, managing director, Nielsen Germany. “Positive labor market developments continue in the country, and sentiment toward job prospects remains strong. While concerns about terrorism declined in the last three months, it remains a top anxiety for consumers, as well as worries about health and increasing utility prices.”

“In the U.K., wage inflation is starting to outstrip price inflation for the first time in years, inflation and mortgage rates are at historically low levels and unemployment is falling steadily, which all combine for a more positive consumer outlook,” said Steve Smith, market leader, Nielsen U.K. and Ireland. “While disposable income and job security are recovering, the consumer has not yet returned to spendthrift ways. The volume of fast-moving consumer goods sold by the major supermarkets sales are growing slightly, and some brands are now seeing small volume uplift. They are still under pressure, however, as discounters are also increasing market share. Now is a good time to embark on innovation, which will help to drive future business growth.” 

“In the Ukraine, a government ceasefire truce in February and a more stable currency budget rate likely contributed to the rise in optimism in the second quarter, but consumer confidence levels are historically low,” said Tatiana Bessmertnaya, market leader, Nielsen Ukraine and Belarus. “While sales of fast-moving consumer goods increased 19.3% in 2015, volume has declined by 13.5%, as consumers are buying less and paying more due to inflation and currency devaluation.”

“Russian consumers are starting to recover, as slowing inflation and stable currency exchange rates are providing a better environment for spending,” said Kyriakos Kyriakou, regional director, Nielsen Eastern Europe. “While 2015 retail sales through May declined 7.2%, the rate of decline over the last few months has slowed, as Russians are more confident in their job prospects and are becoming more daring in their spending after months of being in saving-mode.” 

Other findings include:

  • Recessionary sentiment improved in 31 of 60 measured markets in the second quarter.
  • North American confidence remained optimistic at an index score of 101.
  • Worries about the economy, job security and health issues are top global concerns.
  • Confidence in Latin America continued to decline to the lowest level since 2009.
  • A closer look at country-level insights within global regions.
  • Confidence in Asia-Pacific remained the highest of all regions at an index score of 107.

For more global detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q2 2015 Global Consumer Confidence Report. For a historical look at global consumer confidence by region, country and time period, explore the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker. If you would like more detailed country-level data, it is available for sale in the new Consumer Insights section of the Nielsen Store.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted May 11-29, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. 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.