Chinese consumers are growing increasingly confident about the economy, a contrast to consumers in Western Europe and the United States who express growing concern about their personal financial situations, according to the 11th annual global Consumer Sentiment Survey released today by Boston Consulting Group.
“Chinese consumers have optimism, energy and ambition,” Michael J. Silverstein, a senior partner with Boston Consulting Group, said in a statement. “They say the word will be bright over the next decade.”
On the other hand, consumers in mature economies are feeling insecure and anxious about the economic environment. On average, one-in-four Americans and Europeans are worried about losing their jobs, and few believe their children will live a better life than they do, according to the survey of more than 15,000 consumers in 16 countries.
Feelings of financial insecurity are rising in Europe and remain high among U.S. consumers, according to the survey. More than one-third (34 percent) of Americans said they are not financially secure and 14 percent said they are in financial trouble
“If you take the world from the perspective of the middle-c lass citizen in the U.S. and Western Europe, we are still lurching from crisis to crisis,” said Silverstein. “Americans, in particular, are anxious about their future, their jobs and their lack of savings.”
The overwhelming majority of Chinese consumers (83 percent) believe “the generation to come will have a better life than ours.” A relatively small percentage – 28 percent – expresses anxiety about the future, compared to 78 percent of Spanish consumers, 69 percent of Italian consumers and 52 percent of Americans.
Declining home values and personal debt levels appear to be key factors weighing down consumer confidence in the U.S., according to a series of monthly surveys conducted by Millionaire Corner. One-fourth of investors surveyed in March described their financial situation as “worse off” than four years ago, and one-third said they were essentially treading water. A substantial loss in home value over the past five years was reported by 32 percent, while 36 percent said their home value was “lower” compared to five years ago.
Personal debt levels were a source of concern for 44 percent of the investors surveyed by Millionaire Corner in April. The concern is shared by 70 percent of investors with a net worth of less than $100,000 not including primary residence. More than 60 percent of investors age 40 and younger are worried about their debt levels, and rank student loans as their single most significant source of personal debt. Job security, along with personal debt and saving for the future, ranks as top financial concern for members of generations X and Y, while older investors rank retirement security as their top concern, according to our February survey.
Sixteen percent of Americans strongly agree with the statement, “I don’t think the economy will improve, at least not for the next several years,” according to the Boston Consulting Group survey, while 27 percent of Americans “somewhat agree” with the statement. Only 3 percent of Chinese consumers agree with the statement, and 29 percent somewhat agree.