Even though global consumer confidence has been on an upswing since late 2012, Nielsen reported on Jan. 28 that the global consumer index — the indicator that projects consumer spending — dipped slightly to 96 in Q4 of 2014 from the quarter prior, though this is still up from Q4 2013, signaling both a strengthening U.S. economy that has brought its own index past the pre-recession high of 94, as well as increasing political and economic troubles abroad for other nations and regions.
Regionally, the most confident places in the world were North America (106) and Asia-Pacific (106), the only two measured that were above the index baseline of 100, though both areas still dipped compared to the last quarter. The Middle East/Africa region came in with a 95 rating, followed by Latin America at 88 and Europe bringing up the rear at 76 despite a 1-point boost for the United Kingdom and a 3-point boost in Germany.
“Confidence in more than half of the global markets measured retreated slightly in the fourth quarter with continued geopolitical tensions and some slowing in emerging-market growth,” said Louise Keely, senior vice president of Nielsen in the company’s data report. Keely also mentions how Europeans have been more of less untouched by a possible Eurozone recession, while Latin American nations like Brazil saw some of the largest declines in consumer confidence worldwide due to economic troubles there.
Broken down by individual nations, Nielsen reported only an increase in 17 of the 60 markets polled (28 percent), compared to 39 markets from Q3 (65 percent). Only 16 markets recorded consumer confidence indices over the 100 benchmark, with Asia-Pacific nations like India (129), Indonesia (129), and the Philippines (120) leading the way. China dipped 4 points to 107, while Japan fell 4 points to 73. Malaysia had the largest decline in consumer confidence at 10 points to 89, while South Korea was second from the bottom with a 48, down from 52 last quarter.
Europe had the dubious distinction of having 11 of the bottom 12 nations in the survey data, with Italy’s bottom of the list rating of 45, along with Greece (55), France (57), and Spain (63). One bright spot for the region though was Ireland, which recorded a 10-point boost in its index to 90, a further signal that the country is recovering at a better clip than its continental brethren.