Global Economy
Global online consumer confidence declines to lowest level in six quarters
By Finfacts Team
Jul 18, 2011 - 6:32 AM

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Global online consumer confidence declined to its lowest level in six quarters as economic recovery hit a stumbling block and recessionary jitters again reverberated around the world, according to second quarter findings of Nielsen’s Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey.

On Friday, a separate sentiment survey, showed that US consumer confidence in July, fell to the lowest level since March 2009. The preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment dipped to 63.8, from 71.5 the month before.

The report’s preliminary current conditions index was 76.3 from 82.0, while the expectations index was 55.8 in July, from 64.8 last month. The view on inflation eased, with the one-year forecast standing at 3.4%, from 3.8%, while the five year forecast was 2.8%, from 3.0%.

“There wasn’t enough positive news to inspire confidence among global online consumers in the second quarter,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at the Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen, the giant market research group, in a commentary on the global survey, which was published on Sunday. “Weak economic figures, slowing manufacturing performance and inflation in Asia, an intensifying debt crisis in Europe and continuing political instability in the Middle East combined with rising household expenses in the U.S. have taken their toll on consumers’ fragile confidence. Hopes for full global recovery in the next 12 months substantially weakened in Q2 as the majority of consumers around the world remained in a recessionary mindset.”

The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey, established in 2005, tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 31,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

In the latest round of the survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, 2011, global online consumer confidence fell three index points from 92 to 89 - - its lowest reading since Q4 2009. Confidence in the US fell five index points to 78, two points lower than the 80 points recorded in the first half of 2009 at the height of the global recession.

“With rapidly rising gas prices, inflationary pressures at check-out, continued woes in the housing market with home foreclosures and declining property values, unsettling weather patterns creating flooding and tornado damage and a stagnant job market, confidence among US consumers fell in the second quarter,” said Todd Hale, SVP Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen US. 

Regions of the Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific posted the steepest declines of 12 and 9 points respectively compared to last quarter, but current figures are aligned with year-ago trends. And confidence levels in Europe (74) and Latin America (91) remained largely unchanged edging up one index point each. Despite its nine point dip, Asia Pacific remained the most optimistic region at 98 points, followed by Middle East/Africa at 94 points.

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