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The Nielsen Company is out with its quarterly Global Consumer Confidence Index, which indicates that “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 ... 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 says that “consumer confidence rose in 41 of the 55 countries surveyed during the quarter, with India (127 index points), Indonesia (116)and Norway (115) remaining the world’s most confident nations. Meanwhile, Lithuania (46), Croatia (48), and Portugal (51) were the most pessimistic nations. Taiwan (+14 pts), Singapore (+11), Israel (+10), Mexico (+10) and Colombia (+9) were among the highest increases in consumer confidence in Q1, while Greece (-15), in the midst of a financial collapse, recorded the steepest decline.”

One place where confidence is less than buoyant: the United States. “Consumer confidence in the U.S. improved by one index point from 84 to 85, two points off its pre recession consumer confidence index of 83 points in Q1 2008. The highest CCI on record for the U.S. was 108 points in Q3 2006 ... Canadian confidence hit 100, up six points from six months ago.”

“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.”
KC's View:
Considering the events taking place yesterday in financial markets, some of that confidence may have been shaken. But it is good to know that people are feeling somewhat better...though we clearly have a long way to go, especially because continuing high unemployment rates cannot help but erode consumer confidence.