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India sprints ahead in ACNielsen's Consumer Confidence Index

MUMBAI: India continues to ride high on a wave of strong consumer confidence, with the country leading ACNielsen's 46-country Consumer Confidence Index for the fourth half in a row, scoring an all-time-high Index of 137, according to ACNielsen.

"There is no doubt that India is riding the crest of an economic boom - recording the highest Confidence Index once again reaffirms the solid performance of the market in terms of economic growth, job prospects and the booming young adult population, who will soon become the major driving force in the global economy," said ACNielsen South Asia executive director Sarang Panchal.



According to the survey, in the second and third place in the 46 country Confidence Index are the Norwegians (134) and Danes (129), respectively. Other markets worth watching are Vietnam, which recorded a double-digit increase in its Index from 106 in June 2006 to 116 this time round; and Thailand, achieving an Index of 107, representing the greatest increase of 12 points from the last Index.

"Vietnam is another market to watch, as the country's entry into the WTO starts to impact, along with a rapidly growing workforce and income levels. There is simply huge potential to be found in Vietnam, a country with the world's 13th largest population, and more than 50 per cent of them under the age of 30."



Indians are exceedingly feeling bullish about the job market (95 per cent rating it excellent or good) as well as the state of their personal finances in the next year (87 per cent). On the other hand the world's least optimistic markets hail mostly from Europe, although South Koreans (56) remain at the bottom of the list. Across Asia Pacific, Japan and Taiwan are among the least optimistic, recording an index of 71 and 80 respectively.



Major concerns

While confidence has sustained globally, consumers across the globe continue to cite the economy (39 per cent), health (34 per cent) and job security (32 per cent) as their major concerns over the coming six months, although the level of concern for the economy and health has declined moderately since the first half of 2006.

But for Indians it is the increasing terrorist attack that has made terrorism (30per cent) as the one of the largest concern areas, though globally, only 15 per cent of consumers considered terrorism a major concern, led by India (31 per cent), the UK (26 per cent), and Denmark (25 per cent).

"Looking at the way terrorism is hitting the across the country be in Mumbai or up north east in Guhwahati or for that matter Kashmir Valley, terrorism is surely a big concern that the country is facing. Time has arrived when individual shop owners, service providers should take it on themselves to make their establishment full proof with proper security systems in place so that to give shoppers and consumers a secure environment" added Panchal.

The survey also points out that for Indians it is investment in shares and mutual funds, the best tool to utilize the spare cash. From 40 per cent in the last cycle it is now 49 per cent of Indian consumers who are willing to invest in shares and mutual funds. Infact India is the nation where most number of consumers is willing to take the share market route. Next in the list is the urge to indulge in home improvement and decoration (39 per cent) and to buy new clothes (33 per cent).

"For the last few years booming economy has made spare cash available in the hand of Indian consumers and unlike old days today's consumer wants to live life to its fullest and what best way to improve the standard of living other than improving home and indulge in new clothes. Home and clothes are extension of ones personality and Indians now are not ready to compromise but game to exhibit to the world, a flamboyant , high quality living that now they can afford," said Panchal.

The 46 markets covered by the survey are listed below:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czechs, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, US, Vietnam.

The ACNielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey is a half-yearly survey aimed at gauging current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and current major concerns of consumers across the globe. The ACNielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumer's confidence in the job market, status of their personal finance and their readiness to spend. The latest survey, conducted in late October/early November, polled about 25,408 internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, the Baltics and the Middle East.

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