Nielsen survey shows consumer confidence drops in 2Q
Global consumer confidence declined to its lowest level in six quarters, as economic recovery hit a stumbling block and recessionary jitters reverberated around the world, according to a second-quarter survey from Nielsen Co. “There wasn't enough positive news to inspire confidence among global online consumers in the second quarter,” said Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of the global marketing and research firm. Weak economic figures and an intensifying debt crisis in Europe were among factors to blame for the weak sentiment, Bala said. In the U.S., rising household expenses have taken their toll on consumers' fragile confidence. Hopes for a full, global recovery in the next 12 months weakened substantially in the second quarter, the New York-based firm said. The Nielsen survey tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending plans among more than 31,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. In the latest survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, global online consumer confidence fell from 92 to 89 — its lowest reading since the final quarter of 2009. Confidence in the U.S. fell five points to 78, two points lower than the 80 points recorded in the first half of 2009 at the height of the global recession. Gas prices, a weak jobs market and the stagnant housing market with continuing high rates of foreclosures are among consumers' concerns in the U.S., Nielsen said. Earlier Monday, the National Association of Home Builders said optimism in that sector bounced back this month as some markets show deal-seeking consumers coming to market. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.