Global consumer confidence in the first quarter of 2010 rebounded to reach its highest level since the third quarter of 2007, providing the most definitive sign that the world is beginning to recover from the recession, according to the latest edition of the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index. As the world’s consumers started to spend again, they drove the global index up to 92 points (100 = average) in the first quarter. This represents a six point increase from six months ago and only two points short of the 94 point index mark in Q3 2007, just prior to the decline into world recession. Consumer confidence hit an all time low of 77 index points in early 2009, following the collapse of the international financial system, before steadily increasing again last year.
Nielsen’s Global Consumer Confidence Index tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 27,000 Internet users in 55 countries. In the latest round of the survey conducted between March 8 and March 26, 2010, consumer confidence in many markets rebounded to pre-recession levels of late 2007 and early 2008. Additionally, over the past year, the number of global consumers who believe they are currently in recession dropped 19 points to 58 percent, compared to 77 percent a year ago.
That’s the good news. The report, however, also highlights the disparity between East and West – the pace and extent of economic recovery is greatest in Asia Pacific and Latin American countries and, although better, still sluggish in the U.S. and western Europe, largely due to higher unemployment rates.
“Americans are still extremely cautious about spending given the uncertain nature of the recovery in the U.S. and the continued level of high unemployment. They remain committed to managing controllable costs such as gas and utility bills, and they continue to focus on repairing their balance sheets,” said James Russo, Vice President, Global Consumer Insights at The Nielsen Company. “That said, they are expressing a desire to spend more on discretionary items such as out-of-home entertainment, apparel and vacations—a noticeable shift in this survey. A huge opportunity exists for manufacturers, marketers and retailers who know how to reach the right consumers in the most effective way.”
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