The consumer sentiment of Koreans is near the bottom among 60 countries worldwide.
Nielsen, a public opinion poll company, conducted a survey of 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries worldwide (506 consumers in Korea) on “consumer confidence and consumption willingness for the second quarter this year” from May 12 to 30. Nielsen announced that the resulting consumer confidence index is 53, which is 55th in international ranking. The consumer confidence index shows the optimism or pessimism of consumers about economic conditions. If it exceeds the standard 100, consumers are willing to consume. It if is below 100, consumer sentiment is depressed.
The consumer sentiment of Koreans is even 20 points lower than Japan (73), which suffers from a chronic economic recession. The Korean figure is also lower than the Ukraine (61) that has serious geopolitical conflicts and Greece (55) with its critical financial crisis. There are only five countries, Portugal (48), Slovenia (49), Croatia (50), Italy (51), and Serbia (51), which have a lower consumer sentiment index than Korea.
Shin Eun-hee, president of Nielsen Korea, explained, “Economic recovery starts from consumer sentiment recovery. Due to the Sewol crisis and lost fever of the World Cup during the second quarter of this year, Korea cannot follow the worldwide recovery trend of the consumer sentiment index.”
The future outlook is as bad as the current situation. 90 percent of Korean responders forecast that the job market will stay bad or at least not good next year. 81 percent expected individual financial status to be bad or not good next year. Due to an uncertain future, Koreans are not willing to open their wallets. Most responders (29 percent) picked the economy as the most important concern for the next six months.
An average consumer confidence index of 60 surveyed countries rose 1 point to 97, which is equivalent to the figure of the first half of 2007, right before the global financial crisis.
India (128) recorded the highest consumer confidence index, and Indonesia (12), the Philippines (120), China (111), the UAE (109), Denmark (106), and Thailand (105) followed. By region, the Asia-Pacific (106) scored the highest, and North America (103), the Middle East and Africa (93), South America (90), and Europe (77) followed.