The latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index (Q3) shows a varied view for sub-Saharan Africa as despite it having increased by five points in Ghana (99) in the third quarter, it decreased five points in Nigeria (127), the first decline since inception of the CCI in quarter 3 of 2014. Confidence also declined five points in South Africa to 82. In contrast, Kenyan consumers are feeling markedly more optimistic in comparison to the previous quarter as reflected by the five point increase in Kenya's CCI to 117, compared to 112 in Q2 2015.
The Nielsen consumer confidence index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 61 countries. Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria were added to Nielsen's measurement of consumer confidence in the third quarter of 2014 using an innovative mobile survey methodology. Consumer confidence levels of above or below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees or optimism and pessimism, respectively.
Nielsen East Africa MD Jacqueline Nyanjom
Drilling down to the Kenyan results, Nielsen East Africa MD Jacqueline Nyanjom says the latest buoyant results are no surprise. "The timing of US President Obama's visit to Kenya in July this year left people feeling very positive about the future and coincided with the CCI's quarter three survey period. Business sentiment as measured in Nielsen's first Africa Prospects indicator (APi) also shows Kenya as the top country for business growth."
Contributing to the Kenya-specific CCI results, the outlook for employment increased in Kenya, rising four percentage points from the second quarter, with 60% of respondents saying they viewed their job prospects as excellent or good in the next 12-months. Likewise, sentiment for personal finances and immediate spending intentions also increased with 69% believing the state of their personal finances were good or excellent, up three percentage points from the previous quarter. The most positive increase is reflected in respondents' outlook on their spending intentions, with 45% of the opinion that it's currently an excellent/good time to buy the things they need or want. This is the highest figure in this regard since Q3' 2014, and 9 points ahead of the results at that time.
On a less positive note, the majority of respondents in Kenya (63%) said they did not have spare cash, a decrease from the second quarter. Among those who did claim discretionary funds, saving continued to be a priority for the majority with 87% planning to put money into savings. Discretionary spending intentions for home improvement projects were the second-biggest priority at 81%, while 73% said they would invest in shares of stocks/mutual funds.
Nigeria and Ghana
Nielsen West Africa Managing Director Lampe Omoyele
West Africa seems to be wavering when it comes to the consumer confidence levels. Nielsen West Africa MD Lampe Omoyele says; "The confidence score in Nigeria, while still overwhelmingly positive, is likely a reflection of the more recent moderate economic outlook driven by currency devaluation, declining oil prices, food inflation, and dwindling consumer disposable income. This has led to reprioritisation of where consumers spend money, with a greater focus on staple foods and basic necessities and saving any leftover Naira for a rainy day."
The outlook for employment increased in Ghana, rising three percentage points from the second quarter, with 40% of respondents saying they viewed their job prospects as Excellent or Good in the next 12-months. Likewise, sentiment for personal finances and immediate spending intentions also increased with 67% of Ghanaians believing the state of their personal finances were good or excellent, up four percentage points from the previous quarter. Key factors driving this behaviour include: Stable fuel prices, an improvement in power supply and the Cedi having gained against the US Dollar ? (from 3.9 GHC to 1 USD to 3.1GHC to 1 USD).
Conversely, sentiment declined in Nigeria with favourable spending intentions decreasing eight percentage points to 48% in the third quarter, although 71% say they consider their job prospects over the next 12-months as excellent or good, this declined by 2 percentage points.
The majority of respondents in both countries said they did not have spare cash; namely 68% in Ghana and 60% in Nigeria, levels that decreased in Ghana but increased in Nigeria from the second quarter. Among those who did claim discretionary funds, saving continued to be a priority for the majority, with 77% in Ghana and 80% in Nigeria planning to put money into savings.
Discretionary spending intentions for home improvement projects were the second biggest priority with 64% of Ghanaians and 70% of Nigerians citing this as important, while 49% of Ghanaians and 54% of Nigerians said they would invest in shares of stock/mutual funds.
Nielsen MD Southern Africa Craig Henry comments; "In South Africa, the five point decline in confidence to 82 was not a surprise, as interest rates increased early in the quarter and the value of the Rand against the U.S. dollar took a steep drop. Recessionary sentiment also increased eight percentage points in the third quarter, as 81% of South African respondents believed their country was in a recession."
Further afield, global consumer confidence increased three index points in the third quarter to 99, the highest level since 2006. Optimistic sentiment for job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions increased in nearly half (48%) of all measured markets, but uneven growth continues around the world as confidence stabilises or grows in many advanced economies and declines in many emerging markets.
Additional highlights include:
The U.S. posted the biggest quarterly consumer confidence increase of 18 points, reaching a score of 119-the country's highest level in Nielsen's 10-year consumer confidence history.
Confidence levels rose in two-thirds of European countries, and the U.K. exceeded the optimism baseline score of 100 for the first time since 2006.
Consumer confidence declined in eight-of-14 Asia-Pacific markets, with the steepest declines in Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Latin American confidence continued a downward trend, dropping to a regional score of 81-the lowest level on record for the region.
Middle East confidence declined in the UAE and Pakistan.
Globally, discretionary spending intentions increased despite a pervasive recessionary mindset among more than half (56%) of those surveyed.
About the global survey of consumer confidence and spending intentions
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted May 11-29, 2015 and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The sub-Saharan African countries in this study are compiled from a separate mobile methodology survey among 1,600 respondents in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.
Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen's Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content-video, audio and text-is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry's only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world's population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
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