In spite of the complicated socio-political situation, European consumers remained moderately optimistic last year. In the final quarter of the previous year, their satisfaction index was four points higher in comparison to the beginning of the year. The most rapid decline was noted in USA, where consumer optimist had declined by 19 points – to 100.
The overall index around the world is 97 – the same as it was at the beginning of the year.
The mood of consumers around the world is studied by Nielsen – an international information and measurement company. There are three main indexes that decide the level of satisfaction of consumers – people’s expectations for employment in the near future, personal financial assessment for the nearest year and people’s ability to carry out large purchases for household needs.
While European consumers are the only ones who have demonstrated a slight increase in optimism in all three main indexes, other regions demonstrate a certain level of restraint. The index of the Near East and Africa has reduced by six points – down to 90. Latin America has suffered a decline of three points – down to 83. India continues to demonstrate an unchanged level of optimism for the second quarter in a row – 131. The most pessimistic index is found in South Korea – 46.
Baltic States’ satisfaction index is fluctuating – Lithuania has suffered a decline of seven points (81), Latvia’s index has increased by two points (76) and Estonia is the most optimistic Baltic State (89).
Fear of terrorism has appeared on the agenda of Europe and North America – 22% and 27% of respondents in those regions mentioned terrorism as the source of everyday worries. Concerns about migration are also among the chief worries of residents there – 32% of respondents in North America mentioned migration as a source of fear. There is also a large proportion of European respondents who mentioned migration as a constant source of worries. An especially large proportion of respondents is noted in the Czech Republic (36%), Sweden (28%) and Germany (27%). These aspects are also found in Baltic States: 12% of respondents in Latvia, 4% in Lithuania and 8% in Estonia mentioned the fear of war as one of the main sources for concern in the final quarter of 2015. Migration was mentioned as a reason for concern by 13% of respondents in Latvia, 3% in Lithuania and 15% in Estonia.
It is also noticed that residents in Baltic States have come back to considering the everyday needs that occupied their thoughts before the destabilization of the socio-political situation in the world. In Latvia, residents are concerned the most about health (30%), economy (19%) and household bills (18%). Residents in Lithuania are concerned the most about economy (31%), health (26%) and education (18%). Estonian residents are concerned the most about health (40%), education (24%) and employment (22%).
Last year’s global results show a worsening of the economic situation – 55% of respondents believe the country they live in is currently experiencing economic recession. 53% of respondents believed this at the beginning of the year. The proportion of residents who believe their country is in a state of economic crisis has increased the most in Sweden (62%), Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Norway (by 10 percentage points on average). What is interesting is that the largest improvement of the economic situation has been felt by residents in Latvia – the assessment of the country’s economic situation has improved by 11 percentage points, reaching 59%. That of Estonia has improved by ten percentage points, reaching 46%. The economic situation in Italy has improved by nine percentage points, reaching 80%.
Making savings is a practice that is not all that popular in Latvia when compared to Lithuania and Estonia. Nevertheless, the proportion of residents who make savings is 5% larger now than it was at the end of 2014, reaching 20%. This index has increased in Estonia to 36% (31% last year). In Lithuania, however, this index has declined by 3%, down to 33%.