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Consumer Mood A Window On The Future

by David Crosbie , 10.05.2012

This coming month sees the release of the first deliverable from the new batch of Roper Reports Worldwide data – the Mood of the World report 2012. This is always one of GfK Roper Consulting’s most keenly awaited releases, not just because it gives us a first glimpse at insights from our latest 37,000 interviews with consumers globally, but also because one of the key elements of the report, consumer confidence, is critical to our clients’ understanding of the economic and commercial outlook.

The argument that consumer confidence can act as a leading-edge indicator of a country’s future economic health was made forcefully by the respected economics commentator David Smith in his column in the London Sunday Times in September last year, when he noted that, “I have learned not to ignore these confidence measures. In the autumn of 2007, when no mainstream economist was forecasting outright recession, collapsing consumer confidence proved to be a reliable harbinger of the coming doom.” Smith was making his comments in light of GfK NOP’s monthly UK consumer confidence barometer having fallen to levels that would “normally presage a slide back into recession.” As we now know, this prediction would later prove to be depressingly accurate.

Roper Reports Worldwide’s consumer confidence measure, which we’ve been tracking globally since 2000, provides an annual measure of customer mood in 25 markets around the world, and in each case offers a valuable insight into how consumers are feeling about their own prospects for the year ahead. Is Europe likely to experience a consumer-led recovery any time soon? Will the bullishness of US shoppers help sustain the current upturn? And are citizens of emerging markets such as China being affected by talk of a possible slowdown in growth? Our figures offer valuable pointers on these questions and more.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the Mood of the World report than consumer confidence. We also track a list of 21 concerns, offering a fascinating insight into the main preoccupations of consumers globally. Plus since the global financial crisis of 2009, we’ve been asking consumers in more detail how their lives have been affected by economic events. For instance, whether their employment situation and levels of savings and investments have improved or worsened, as well as whether they’ve had difficulty in paying off debt. We also capture the way in which these factors impact their spending habits, in the form of cutbacks and money saving strategies. Our aggregate of all of these measures, which we call the Consumer Recession Index, is a holistic and comprehensive view of the impact of prevailing economic conditions on consumers and their spending habits.

For more information of the Mood of the World Reports 2012, and how to ensure you receive your copy as soon as it is released, contact us.