Third-Quarter Consumer Confidence Soars in the U.S.

Third-Quarter Consumer Confidence Soars in the U.S.

Global consumer confidence increased three index points in the third quarter to 99, the highest level since 2006. Optimistic sentiment for job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions increased in nearly half (48%) of all measured markets, but uneven growth continues around the world as confidence stabilizes or grows in many advanced economies and declines in many emerging markets.

Among the world’s largest economies, confidence increased 18 points in the U.S. (119)—the highest score for the country in Nielsen’s 10-year consumer confidence history. Confidence also increased four points in the U.K. (103) and three points in Germany (100) from the second quarter. Conversely, confidence declined one point in China (106) and three points in Japan (80).

Regionally, confidence increased significantly in North America (U.S. and Canada) with a 16-point index surge, reaching a score of 117—the region’s highest level in Nielsen’s 10-year consumer confidence history. Confidence in Europe continued on an upward trajectory for the third consecutive quarter, as 21 of 32 countries posted index increases, resulting in a regional score of 81—the highest level since 2008. Conversely, confidence in the Asia-Pacific region declined one index point to 106, and fell two points in Latin America (81), the lowest score on record (since 2005) for the region. Consumer confidence held steady in the Middle East/Africa region with a score of 94.

“Globally, this continues to be a period of economic uncertainty and thus mixed confidence trends,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute. “Despite some mixed economic signals from the U.S., consumer confidence has strengthened and consumer spending is driving the economy. In Europe, confidence is more mixed due to variation in country-specific economic conditions; stronger confidence in Italy, Spain, and the U.K. reflects improving job markets, while Russia’s confidence has plummeted in the wake of an economic downturn. Latin American confidence also is mixed, but Brazil’s continued confidence decline looms large as Brazil is the largest economy in the region.”

In the latest online survey, conducted Aug. 10-Sept. 4, 2015, consumer confidence increased in 29 of 60 markets measured by Nielsen (48%). India’s score of 131 was the highest level among 61 markets, followed by the U.S. (119), the Philippines (117) and Indonesia (116). The U.S. showed the biggest quarterly improvement of 18 points, and Taiwan showed the biggest quarterly decline of 12 points from the second quarter. South Korea reported the lowest score of 49, an increase of four points from the second quarter.

Other findings 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 immediate spending intentions have risen 13 percentage points since 2008 to a high of 43% in the third quarter of 2015.
  • Concerns about terrorism rose seven points to 18% in Europe from the second quarter.
  • U.S. discretionary spending intentions posted high levels in the third quarter.
  • Confidence in the U.K. reaches 103 – the highest score for the country since 2005.

For more global 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.