Global consumer confidence falls to record low, says survey

Amira Salah-Ahmed
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Fifty-six percent of global consumers think their country is currently in recession and consumer confidence worldwide has fallen to its lowest level in several years, according to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index.

The index measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending habits in 51 countries.

The latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 88 – down six points in the last six months – the largest single drop the Index has recorded in the last three years.

In Egypt the Consumer Confidence Index shows a drop of two percent in the last six months reaching 77 percent.

“Consumer confidence fell in 39 out of 48 countries in the past six months, with New Zealand, USA and Latvia suffering the deepest declines, said David Parma, global head of customized research at The Nielsen Company.

Among the 39 markets recording a decline in consumer confidence, 15 fell by double-digits.

“The last six months have been the most turbulent period for the global economy in several decades. When the USA sneezed at the outset of the sub prime disaster nearly a year ago – the rest of the world quickly caught a cold. No region and no country have been spared the domino effect of the US sub-prime and credit crisis, he said.

“Consumers around the world are struggling with the same global issues that are impacting their daily lives. It’s an unfortunate pendulum. On the one hand we are seeing soaring global oil prices, rising commodity prices which are impacting grocery prices, rising interest rates and increasing inflation.

“This is happening in tandem with falling property prices, weakening labor markets, decreasing industrial output levels and growing unemployment rates which have all resulted in less spending power for the average person.

Overall, it’s not a good picture, commented Parma.

Across the regions, the US suffered the biggest fall in Confidence Index, dropping 17 points, while in Europe, the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index dropped six points to 83.

Nielsen Consumer Confidence Indices dropped three points in Asia Pacific and EEMEA (Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa), and two points in Latin America.

For many emerging countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, the last six months have seen consumers struggling with double-digit inflation, rising unemployment rates and stagflation for the first time in a decade.

And while the credit crunch became an unwelcome household term in the last year, consumers’ wages and pay packets have been stretched to the maximum like never before.

Interestingly, while 56 percent of global consumers believe they are currently in the midst of a recession, only 26 percent believes the situation will escalate into a full blown global recession in the next year.

Among Egyptians, it is found that 25 percent see a global recession coming within the coming year, opposes a 28 percent who don t think so and a majority of 46 percent left without having a definite opinion about that.

Sixty-four percent of the Egyptians rank unemployment as their major concern, exceeding the inflation which is a major concern to 38 percent of the Egyptians.

The Nielsen Company provides marketing and media information, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Its business publications include Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek. The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey was conducted in April 2008 among 28,153 internet users in 51 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East.

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