Worldwide consumer confidence reaches record levels

NEW YORK, Jan. - The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey shows growing optimism about accelerated vaccinations and sustained tax incentives

With the expansion of vaccination campaigns, the easing of travel restrictions and increased economic stimulus from governments and central banks, global consumer confidence has risen according to the The Conference Board® global consumer confidence survey rose to a record high in the first quarter of 2021.

The survey found that global consumer confidence rose from 98 points in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 108 points in the first quarter of 2021. That number was above the 106 recorded in the first quarter of 2020 before the pandemic (a number above 100 is considered positive) and is the highest number since the survey began in 2005. Confidence rose in 49 of the 65 markets surveyed as economic activity resumed, COVID-19 cases peaked in many economies, and vaccine development and distribution increased. Vaccines have contributed to this revitalization, meaning that each economy's access to vaccination doses has significantly affected the timing of each country's recovery and has increased consumer confidence. (For fourth quarter 2020 indices, results exclude China due to data collection restrictions.)

"The improvement in global consumer sentiment bodes well for spending as the year progresses as economies continue to move past the 2020 pandemic-induced economic downturn and work to contain the spread of the virus," said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of the Conference Committee. “Nevertheless, the global economic recovery - and with it consumer sentiment - will continue to differ significantly from region to region. Economies with better access to vaccines are likely to achieve herd immunity and return to some normalcy sooner. "

Further results:

The record-breaking global confidence in the economy was fueled by increases in most, but not all, regions.

  • The trust remained different depending on the region: Latin America (up 13 points from 86 to 99) and Europe (up 11 points from 76 to 87) recorded the largest increases in consumer confidence. However, in both regions the previous value was very low and confidence remains lowest in Europe. North America, on the other hand, slipped six points from 116 to 110, while Africa and the Middle East dropped from 101 to 97.
  • In particular, the growing confidence in personal finances contributed to the improved mood worldwide: Consumers were significantly more optimistic about their finances in the first quarter of 2021. The gap between positive and negative responses was +29 percentage points, compared to +15 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2020. Of the top three drivers of global trust, the personal finance the greatest influence, but also the other two drivers showed an upward trend: the mood with regard to the Employment prospects rose worldwide and the Expenditure ideas rose from negative (-7 points) in the fourth quarter of 2020 to positive (+6 points) in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Consumers are gearing up for a return to normal: Consumers were spending more on off-home entertainment, clothing, and vacations. Taken together, these trends suggest that consumers are increasingly looking forward to returning to normal activities sometime this year. Given that consumption levels are a major contributor to growth in many more developed economies, such activity in anticipation of greater freedom later supports that Conference Board forecast revised upwards of 5 percent real GDP growth worldwide this year.
  • However, consumers around the world have also saved more: 57 percent of global consumers said they put money aside. That's an increase of 9 points over the previous quarter. Their efforts. Saving money was primarily reflected in savings in hospitality and entertainment. Consumers planned to skip annual vacation, postpone technology upgrades, and cut down on eating out. They also switched to cheaper grocery brands and drove less cars. And they stated that they would continue to want to save on clothing, entertainment and everyday items even after economic conditions improved.

The effects of the recession continue to be felt and health and economic concerns remain high.

  • A large majority of consumers (64 percent) said in the first quarter of 2021 that their market was still in recession. While that number fell sharply from late 2020 (down 17 percentage points from 81 percent), strong recession concerns remain.
  • Globally, only 41 percent of consumers expect the economy in their region to recover within 12 months, virtually unchanged from the previous quarter.
  • Consumers' concerns about their own health (22 percent) and economic performance (20 percent) dominated their concerns. Given the ongoing crisis, this trend is likely to continue until mid-2021 and will not go away until the coronavirus is contained and herd immunity is achieved.

“With employment and health uncertainty driving consumers to keep saving, it seems clear that just returning GDP to pre-pandemic levels will not in itself mean a return to normalcy "Explained Dana Peterson, Chief Economist of the Conference Board. "The labor market recovery may take longer, and industries that rely on automation and digital transformation are likely to have a longer impact."

While consumer sentiment has improved globally, there are regional differences.

  • Europe: Even if the numbers improved in almost all European countries in the first quarter of 2021, the region remains the most pessimistic of all respondents.

    - The job prospects remained the main brake on
    Trust in the region - despite the efforts made by many individuals
    Economies, the negative impact of the pandemic on the
    Curb the labor market. The intention to spend more rose in
    all major European economies, except Germany.
    The restrictions announced in March and April due to a
    However, the increase in COVID-19 cases reduced the willingness to buy
    the consumer back on.

  • Asia Pacific: Consumer confidence continued to improve in 10 out of 14 Asia-Pacific (ex-China) markets as effective containment measures, stimulus packages in both advanced and emerging economies in the region, and a comparative advantage in exports of goods and technology Improved mood in the region contributed.

    - With a score of 118, Asia Pacific was the region with the
    highest consumer confidence. In the fourth quarter poll
    China was not included in 2020, but the mood there was in
    first quarter of 2021 (121) was a significant improvement
    compared to the second quarter of 2020 (97), in which the country
    was last included in the survey

  • Latin America: As the region saw the largest increase in positive consumer sentiment, the confidence level shifted from negative to near-positive. Every economy in the region surveyed saw significant increases in confidence.

    - The increasing optimism about personal finances
    led to a greater proportion of consumers doing something more
    Spent money, but the plans, continued on commodities and
    Saving clothes remained in place. While the number of
    COVID-19 cases in Brazil and Chile continued to rise, the went
    Infection numbers in many other economies continue to decline
    below. The general concern about the economy subsided,
    generous than most governments in the region
    Adopted tax breaks.

  • Africa and Middle East: Consumer confidence in the region has decreased slightly in the first quarter of 2021 since the last quarter of 2020. Along with North America, it is one of two regions that have seen an overall decline in confidence.

    - Within the region there was a considerable range in the
    There was a mood among the individual countries. So rich
    the values ​​from 70 in Morocco to 125 in Saudi Arabia
    on the other hand. That huge gap could affect that
    Presence of non-oil related sources of growth, where
    Saudi Arabia and the UAE - which are comparatively less strong
    are dependent on the oil income - a higher confidence in that
    first quarter of 2021. The sharp drop in consumption
    Due to the pandemic, it seemed short-lived in the Gulf region
    To be permanent. With the - albeit rather slow - start of the
    Vaccination campaigns - the economy recovered in 2021.

  • North America: Consumer confidence fell in the first quarter of 2021, driven by a loss of confidence in the US - likely due to the slow adoption of vaccines and mounting political tensions surrounding the election season. In Canada, however, confidence increased. The decline is expected to be temporary.

    - In the US there were great concerns about the economy, this one
    but decreased slightly. Taking care of one's health is easy
    increased. In particular, the concern about the political
    Stability seemed to last after a temporary surge
    To decrease again quarter of 2020. In Canada, the concerns took off
    in terms of health and employment prospects,
    however, concerns about the economy decreased.

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