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Kiwi consumer pessimism continues gloomy streak

Kiwi consumers are still feeling pessimistic about spending, and our Aussie counterparts are even more gloomy, where consumer confidence is at its lowest point since June 2009.

Kiwi consumers are still feeling pessimistic about spending, and our Aussie counterparts are even more gloomy, where consumer confidence is at its lowest point since June 2009.

In the latest round of Nielsen’s Global Online Consumer Survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, global online consumer confidence fell three index points from 92 to 89 – its lowest reading since Q4 2009. 

The study tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 31,000 Internet consumers across 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Despite increasing two points compared to the last quarter, New Zealand confidence is still below that golden benchmark at 97, while Australia's fell seven points to 103.

It seems consumers remain cautious, with 46 percent putting spare cash into savings and 37 percent channeling surplus cash into paying off debts, credit cards and loans.

“There is clearly a continued focus around the globe and in New Zealand to save and reduce household debt,” said Rob Clark, managing director of Nielsen New Zealand.

“Concerns over job prospects and the state of peoples own finances remain high. Add to this rising food prices, the earthquake and tsunami in Christchurch and Japan, as well as the current financial issues facing Greece, and it’s no surprise that we have not seen a material improvement in consumer confidence.”

Indeed, increasing food prices are the top concern for global respondents (and 28 percent of Kiwi respondents) surpassing concerns about the economy for the second quarter in a row.

Compared to just 27 percent of Australians, three-quarters of us think we're still in an economic recession.

Other concerns raised by Kiwis included rising utility bills and increasing fuel prices.

How we're cutting back

  • Saving on gas and electricity - 68 percent
  • Switching to cheaper grocery brands - 67 percent
  • Cutting down on takeaways - 64 percent
  • Cutting back on out-of-home entertainment - 61 percent