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Kiwi confidence lifts to an ’06 high

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Kiwi confidence lifts to an ’06 high

- New Zealand consumer confidence levels ranked fifth highest globally
- Health tops the list of greatest concerns; Economy follows closely
- Kiwis still focusing on reducing debt and curbing discretionary spending whilst also battling to save

Auckland, December 20, 2006 – Consumer confidence in New Zealand has improved six points in the second half of 2006, scoring an Index of 120 and making it the fifth most confident country globally, according to ACNielsen’s latest Global Online Consumer Confidence Index.

Released today, these and other findings were part of the twice-yearly global ACNielsen Online Consumer Opinion Survey, the largest of its kind, which polled 25,408 people in 46 countries and more than 500 New Zealand participants on their perception of the local economy, job prospects, spending habits and major concerns.

While confidence has increased in New Zealand, consumers continue to cite Health (36%) and the Economy (35%) as their major concerns over the coming six months. (refer to Chart 1).

“The resilient housing market, fall in petrol prices, as well as the continuing employee job market may have influenced the increase in confidence this period”, said Mr Steve Mitchell, managing director, ACNielsen New Zealand. “The rise in confidence is particularly reflected in consumers’ outlook on job prospects over the next 12 months, the state of their personal finances and that it is a good time to buy.”

On job prospects and personal finances, Kiwis continue to be optimistic with just under nine in ten (86%) saying job prospects over the next 12 months looked good or excellent, significantly higher than the global average of just 53 percent and an increase of ten percentage points from first half of 2006.

Over seven in ten (72%) believe that the state of their personal finances in the year ahead will be good or excellent, well above the global average of 58 percent.

The number of Kiwis who thought it was a good time to buy also increased this period to 60 percent from 51 percent in first half of 2006. This compares to 43 percent globally.

The survey results reveal that there is a substantial number of New Zealand consumers focused on debt reduction with close to half (46%) allocating their spare cash to paying off debts, credit cards and loans – a one point increase from June 2005 and ranking fifth highest globally. Other financial priorities that ranked highly among New Zealand consumers included saving (45%), holidays (38%), home improvement/decorating (33%) and out of home entertainment (32%), with all four areas increasing slightly in the past six months (refer to Chart 2).


About the Survey
The ACNielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey is the largest half-yearly survey of its kind aiming 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 November, polled about 25,408 internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, the Baltics and the Middle East.

About ACNielsen
ACNielsen, a VNU business, is the world's leading marketing information provider. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the unit provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns. To learn more, visit www.acnielsen.co.nz.

ENDS

See... NZ Consumer Confidence Charts

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