According to Nielsen, global consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels, achieving a score of 96 on the market research firm’s sentiment index in the first quarter of 2014. In looking at North America, Nielsen noted that discretionary spending intentions in the United States increased across a number of categories during 2014’s start including new technology and out-of-home entertainment, which gained four and three percentage points, respectively, versus the 2013 fourth quarter.
U.S. savings and investing intentions also picked up pace in the first quarter, with 44% of respondents putting spare cash into savings accounts, up from 39% in fourth-quarter 2013, and 15% investing in stocks and mutual funds, up from 11% from the previous quarter. At the same time, 36% of consumers said they paid debts, credit cards and loans, up five percentage points from the previous quarter.
The 96% figure represents the highest index score since the first quarter of 2007, Nielsen stated.