EMBARGO: 23:00 GMT Wednesday 14 October 2009

Asian Nations—but Not Japan—among World’s Most Confident Consumers: Global Poll

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London, UK (14 October, 2009) – Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are among the most confident in the world as economic recovery starts to take hold, a new GlobeScan poll across 22 countries finds. But the Japanese, who are deeply pessimistic about the future, are the exception.

The survey also finds that while consumers tend to expect the tough economic times to persist over the next year, many are more optimistic about the prospects for the longer term.

More than 22,000 people were interviewed between June and August for GlobeScan’s International Consumer Sentiment Index—the first of a series of annual global studies that will track changes in consumer confidence over time around the world.

The International Consumer Sentiment Index uses the same series of questions—and the same methods of analysis—that researchers at the University of Michigan have been using for more than fifty years to monitor American consumer confidence.

Chinese and Indonesian Consumers the Most Confident

With overall scores of 113.5 and 100.6 respectively, Chinese and Indonesian consumers emerge as the most confident, followed by the Nigerians, Australians and Canadians. Americans were some way down the list with a score of 71.9. The highest level of US consumer confidence recorded over recent years was 111.3, in February 2000, with the lowest, 51.7 occurring in May 1980.

At the other end of the spectrum, Japanese consumers recorded a score of only 45.1—the lowest of any country.

The Index explores a number of measures of consumers’ perceptions, including whether they are better or worse off than a year ago, whether they expect to be better or worse off in a year's time, what they expect business conditions to be like over the next year and over the next five years, and whether they think now is a good time to make major household purchases.

Consumers Expect a Tough Year ahead, but Some Improvement after That

Looking across all countries, over the next year more expect times to be mostly bad (31%) than mostly good (25%), with the rest saying they think they will be equally good and bad. But looking five years ahead, more expect mostly good times (33%) than bad times (21%).

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented, “Consumer confidence matters. Few economists expect a full recovery until confidence improves. These survey results suggest recovery is some way off, and likely to be driven by Asian consumers.”

Miller continued, “Finally the world has a single-source reference for comparing consumer confidence across the major economies. While over 50 national governments use this same methodology for tracking confidence, often the results are delayed or never released publicly. GlobeScan’s International Consumer Sentiment Index will make this critical information available in a consistent and timely manner to help guide corporate and government decisions.”

For more information, please contact:

Sam Mountford
Research Director, GlobeScan London
+44 20 7253 1447

Oliver Martin
Research Director, GlobeScan Toronto
direct line: +1 416-969-3073

GlobeScan Incorporated is a global survey research firm providing strategic advice to companies, multilateral institutions, governments and NGOs, on reputation, sustainability, and corporate responsibility. The company is a world leader in conducting comprehensive general public and stakeholder survey research in all regions of the world. www.GlobeScan.com.

The International Consumer Sentiment Index is calculated based on the results of five questions asked of a representative sample of adult consumers in 22 countries. A full questionnaire is appended. An aggregate score is derived based on the proportions giving a positive or negative response to each question. GlobeScan plans to continue to track consumer confidence around the world each year, using this method. We know that cultural norms affect the way that different countries answer questions like this, and we may find over time that some nations are always more upbeat or downbeat. We may adjust the Index in future to allow for that, but this year’s findings are based on non-standardised data.