Nielsen’s Q1 2015 Consumer Confidence Report examined 30,000 consumers in 60 countries and found consumer optimism is on the rise so far this year, although many consumer continue in a recessionary mindset.
U.S. results were widely positive. With gas prices low compared to past years, the housing market continuing to heat up and Millennials feeling economically confident enough to leave the nest, the U.S. economy is actually becoming the bright spot in the global economy, Nielsen reported.
The Demand Institute jointly operated by Nielsen and the Conference Board conducted a study fielded in late 2014 and found that at that time, there were 13.3 million households headed by Millennials, but by 2018, that number is expected to swell to 21.6 million.
“In the U.S., optimism continued to move forward in the first quarter, likely influenced by the addition of nearly 600,000 new jobs and low gasoline prices, which put more money in consumers’ wallets,” said James Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen. “Consumer spending picked up in the first quarter, with fast-moving consumer goods sales rising 2.5%, compared to an annual increase of only 1.4% during 2014. While 2015 is off to a good start, half of Americans are still in a recessionary mindset, and nearly 35% say they live paycheck to paycheck. As this undercurrent of uncertainty still permeates, consumers continue to think carefully about how and where they spend their money.”
- Consumer Confidence increased one point in the U.S. since Q4 2014 (107), three points in the U.K. (97) and three points in France (60).
- In the U.S., the job prospects confidence indicator rose five percentage points to 55%.
- Recessionary sentiment reached a new low of 50%, down from 53% the previous quarter and 63% six months ago.
- Despite low oil prices, U.S. consumers are saving for a rainy day. North American recessionary sentiment continued to recede, but spending intentions remained restrained.
- Immediate spending intentions declined two percentage points to 50%, from fourth-quarter 2014.