8 February 2012
Global consumer confidence increased one index point last quarter to 89, while Europe led confidence declines in 24 of the region’s 27 measured markets, according to fourth quarter 2011 global consumer confidence findings from Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Taiwan’s decline of 16 points to an index of 71 is the lowest point in 24 months in the latest round of the survey, conducted between November 23 and December 9, 2011, overall confidence levels fell in 60 percent of global markets measured with confidence declines in 35 out of 56 markets. Confidence rose in 12 markets and remained flat in nine.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 28,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
More than half (52%) of global online consumers described their personal finances for 2012 as excellent/good, up from 50 percent in Q3 2011, but 65 percent indicated it is not a good time to buy, up one percent from the previous quarter.
Asia Pacific continues as the most optimistic region, boasting seven of the top 10 highest index scores. Confidence rose in nearly half (six of 14) of the Asia Pacific markets in the Nielsen survey, fell in five and remained flat in three—Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.
Taiwan consumer confidence index declined 16 points from 87 with declines in three key indicators—job prospects, personal finance and times to buy needed items. Over four-fifths of Taiwanese online respondents think the job market is “not so good” or “bad”, three quarters think it’s not so good/bad timing to buy items they want and need, and two-thirds think their personal finance is not so good/bad.
Seventy-eight percent of Taiwanese online consumers think Taiwan is in an economic recession—the highest level in the past 30 months. Among them, 42 percent believe Taiwan won’t be out of an economic recession in the next 12 months.
Half of Taiwanese respondents consider the economy is their biggest/second biggest concern while job security (30%) jumps to the second of Taiwanese top concern list. Concerns towards the economy and job security increased 6 percentage points and 9 percentage points respectively, returning to Q3 2008 global financial crisis levels.
Seven in ten Taiwanese online respondents report they have changed their spending habits to save on household expenses, including cutting down on out of home entertainment (52%), spending less on new clothes (44%), cutting down on holidays/short breaks and switching to less expensive cheaper grocery brands (both 43%).
Two in three Taiwanese respondents say they put their spare cash into savings, and investing in shares of stock/mutual funds remains on the second position of Taiwanese online consumers’ top “spending list” for their spare cash. Taiwanese continues to cut off their spending on non-necessity items, such as “out of home entertainment” and “new clothes” decreased 5 percent and 6 percent respectively from 3 months ago.
“The sharp drop in Taiwanese consumer confidence is mainly driven by a strong decline in job prospects and a rise in concern for the current economic environment,” said Emilie Darolles, Managing Director, Nielsen Taiwan. “In the short term, we expect consumers’ willingness to spend to slow down and the propensity to save to increase. The Chinese New Year Festival will likely help boost some of the domestic consumption in Q1, but Taiwanese consumers will continue to be conservative in 2012.”
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between November 23 and December 9, 2011 and polled more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey was established in 2005.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com
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