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Kiwi confidence continues to ride high


Kiwi confidence continues to ride high

- New Zealand among the world’s top 10 most optimistic
- Economy and Health continue top the list of greatest concerns


Auckland, January 10, 2008 – Consumer confidence in New Zealand has slipped five points in the second half of 2007, scoring an Index of 115 and making it one of the 10 most confident countries globally, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Online Consumer Confidence Index.

Released today, these and other findings were part of the twice-yearly global Nielsen Online Consumer Opinion Survey, the largest of its kind, which polled 26,312 people in 48 countries and more than 500 New Zealand participants on their perception of the local economy, job prospects, spending habits and major concerns.

While confidence dipped slightly in New Zealand, consumers continue to cite the Economy at 44% (up from 40% in the first half of 2007) and Health at 36% (down from 40% in the first half of 2007) as their major concerns over the coming six months. (refer to Chart 1).

“Certainly it appears that economic concerns, including the impact of rising fuel prices, are really impacting confidence, although levels do remain high compared with other markets”, said Steve Mitchell, managing director, ACNielsen New Zealand.

Kiwis continue to be optimistic regarding job prospects, with over eight in ten (84%) saying job prospects over the next 12 months looked good or excellent, significantly higher than the Asia Pacific average of 49 percent and the global average of 50 percent.

Seven in ten (70%) believe that the state of their personal finances in the year ahead will be good or excellent, well above the global average of 5 percent.

The number of Kiwis who thought it was a good time to buy slipped eight points this period to 52 percent from 58 percent in the first half of 2007 and from 60 percent in second half of 2006. This compares to 36 percent globally.

The survey results reveal that there is a substantial number of New Zealand consumers focused on debt reduction with close to half (48%) allocating their spare cash to paying off debts, credit cards and loans – a one point increase from the first half of 2007. Other financial priorities that ranked highly among New Zealand consumers included saving (41%), holidays (29%) and home improvement/decorating (27%) (refer to Chart 2).

“As with the previous survey, Kiwis are increasingly concerned with pay off debt, and we have seen this correlate with declining confidence. Given continued uncertainty in the housing market, confidence levels may continue to decline” said Mitchell.

Regarding a global recession, Thailand, Taiwan and Italy lead the pack with most people anticipating a global recession in the next 12 months. Globally, over 50 percent of people are concerned that a recession will lead to Unemployment and Inflation. At the other end of the scale, 40 percent of the world’s consumers do not believe there will be a global recession next year, led by two of the fastest developing countries - China (69%) and Vietnam (66%). In New Zealand, only 25 percent of Kiwis think there will be a global recession in the next 12 months but are concerned that this would lead to further Interest Rate rises.

The Survey
The latest survey, conducted from October to November, polled about 26,312 internet users in 48 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East.

The Nielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey is the largest half-yearly survey of its kind, aimed at gauging current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and current major concerns of consumers across the globe. The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumer’s confidence in the job market, status of their personal finance and their readiness to spend.

About The Nielsen Company

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.

ENDS

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