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Consumers Demonstrate Little Q4 Joy In Global Economy

According to an ongoing Nielsen study, global consumer confidence indexed at 91 in the 2012 fourth quarter, which represented a one-point decline from the third quarter, but a two point increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. Across the 58 countries Nielsen checked in the fourth quarter 2012, confidence declined in 33, remained flat in six and increased in 19 versus the prior quarter.

In the fourth quarter, 59% of respondents said they were in a recession, an improvement from 62% in the previous quarter and 64% in the 2011 period. Consumers in North America had the gloomiest mindset, still the proportion of Americans who said they were in a recession fell from 81% in the third quarter to 74% in the fourth.

“Consumers around the world grappled with increasing economic concerns as the Euro zone crisis spread from troubled to core countries, the United States fiscal cliff threat loomed large and China’s rising inflation sparked monetary policy action,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, which operates under the Nielsen umbrella. “Consumers are proceeding with caution in 2013 and showed renewed discretionary spending restraint in the fourth quarter amid further global economic and political uncertainty.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents who have Internet access in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above a baseline of 100 indicate a degree of economic optimism while those below suggest pessimism.