Third-Quarter Consumer Confidence Dips in Asia-Pacific, Recession Concerns Rise

Third-Quarter Consumer Confidence Dips in Asia-Pacific, Recession Concerns Rise

Third-quarter consumer confidence declined in eight of 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region for an overall score of 106, a regional decline of one index point from the previous quarter. Australia and South Korea each showed the biggest quarterly confidence increases in the region of four points, rising to scores of 93 and 49, respectively. Conversely, confidence declined 12 points in Taiwan (72), 11 points in Malaysia (78) and six points in Hong Kong (99), the biggest declines reported globally. Confidence also decreased one point in China (106), three points in Japan (80) and was flat in India (131) from the second quarter. Despite the declines this quarter, confidence levels in half the countries measured in the region remained above the baseline optimism index score of 100.

Echoing the confidence declines seen, recessionary sentiment increased by double-digit percentage points in Hong Kong (+17pp), Malaysia (+16pp), Taiwan (+15pp) and Indonesia (+10pp), and recessionary sentiment levels were among the highest in South Korea (89%), Malaysia (89%) and Taiwan (88%).

“In Hong Kong, a recessionary mindset permeated consumer sentiment for more than half of respondents (56%) as consumer confidence declined dramatically in the third quarter,” said Yan Xuan, president, Nielsen Greater China. “As private consumption growth slowed by 2.8% and exports dropped by 1.3%, labor forces are feeling the pain from the economic slowdown. Additionally, the plunge in stock and commodity prices by 30%-40% in August-September has taken a toll.”

“Taiwanese consumer confidence dropped dramatically in the third quarter, driven by double-digit declines in both job prospects and spending willingness,” said Andy Huang, managing director, Nielsen Taiwan. “Rising concerns about the current economic environment and work/life balance issues dominate consumer sentiment in the country. Fast-moving consumer goods value sales through August 2015 remained flat, and we expect consumer spending to remain weak in the short-term.”

“Indian consumers continue to declare a resilient outlook in the face of uncertainty in the broader economy,” said Roosevelt D’Souza, senior vice president, Nielsen India Region. “While their confidence appears to sustain at the previous high levels, the state of the economy, deficit monsoons and volatility in the job market are prevailing issues in the region. That said, the belief in the fundamental prospects of India’s economic future appear unshaken and the proportion of consumers who see brighter days ahead are growing and being reflected in an increase in volume growth within packaged consumer goods. Nevertheless, it is possible that any uptick in consumer spending is more likely to be stimulated by smart marketing and a surge in activity led by e-commerce players as we approach the festive season. With a softer interest rate direction, inflation under control and the outlook that the economy is likely to gradually revive to previous levels over the next 12 months, India’s consumer market will continue to work its way towards more gradual buoyancy.”

Other findings in the recent report include:

  • Morocco was added to the Global Survey this quarter, and the country’s index is reflected in the Middle East/Africa regional average.
  • Global consumer confidence rose three percentage points in the third-quarter, to an index score of 99.
  • Global immediate spending intentions have risen 13 percentage points since 2008 to a high of 43% in the third quarter of 2015.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q3 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.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Aug. 10-Sept. 4, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 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.