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Global Economic Conditions Ended 2018 on an Upbeat Note, But Market Conditions Vary Around the World

Nielsen reports

At a macro level, economic conditions around the globe ended 2018 on an upbeat note. Global consumer confidence, as reported by the Conference Board, was at its highest level in 14 years, a full seven points above the baseline confidence level of 100. That said, however, 39 of the 64 countries included in the global Consumer Confidence Index, which is produced in collaboration with Nielsen, reported declines in confidence, well above the 19 in third-quarter 2018.

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and GDP growth was strongest in Asia-Pacific, and consumers in the region feel the best globally about their financial well-being. In fact, 70% of consumers in Asia-Pacific report feeling feel better off than they did five years ago. Comparatively, only 37% of consumers in Europe believe their conditions have improved over the same time period.

Compared with Asia-Pacific, where average incomes have been growing in step with strengthening economies, Europe has the greatest disparity between consumers who say their conditions have improved and those who say they have worsened. That said, there are noticeable variances. For example, Romania, which posted FMCG growth of nearly 5% in fourth-quarter 2018, has a very high percentage (61%) of consumers who feel better off than half a decade ago. Finland, Italy and Norway are at the opposite end of the spectrum, as 35% of consumers there say they're worse off-the highest percent across Europe.

Source : Nielsen




In Latin America, economic strides in the fourth quarter were mild, as the region posted GDP of just 1.7%. A few countries posted stronger results, but the worsening recession in Argentina constrained overall progress in the region. Up north, in the U.S. and Canada, inflationary conditions continued to weigh on the FMCG market, with volume growth flat as the year ended. Optimism across North America fell four points to 117, but that level remained significantly higher than the global average of 107.


Looking for regional- and country-specific insights? Our global Quarter by Numbers series has you covered. These quarterly reports combine macroeconomic data, consumption trends, spending patterns and market commentary to provide brands, manufacturers, businesses, marketers and retailers the insights they need to drive organizational growth.


Here, we look at overarching trends in select countries across our five regions.

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