Global consumers, CEOs aligned in their optimism

PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018

In PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey, we explore how consumers view the state of their respective national economies.

  • Despite the much publicised ‘new normal’ that’s tamping down consumer spending, the data says that consumers are very confident about the next few years.
  • Asian territories tend to be the most optimistic.
  • Consumers are most concerned about fuel prices, recession and inflation impacting their spend over the next 12 months.
  • Overall, consumers expect to spend more or the same for additional experiences and products demonstrating their confidence in the near future.

Consumers’ views of the world

When we ask consumers about their impression of the overall economy in their territories for 2018, one-third say that the economy will perform better than the previous year while 41% say the economy will perform the same.

We also asked survey respondents to quantify their personal spend in the next 12 months, and almost three-quarters say they plan to shop more, or the same, than the previous 12 months.  

Asian territories are the most optimistic

Asian territories tend to be the most optimistic, likely because of the consistent GDP growth in China and several emerging economies in Asia. In fact, the top four territories most positive in their outlook of how their national economy will perform are all Asian: Philippines, Indonesia, China and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, those territories most pessimistic in their outlook each hail from a different geographic area: South Africa, Malaysia, UK, and Hungary, implying that the concerns of these survey respondents are particular to their territory. 

Fuel prices, recession and inflation are the biggest areas of concern

There are particular areas of unease for consumers. Looking specifically at those survey respondents globally who expect to spend less in the next 12 months, worries around fuel prices, recession, and inflation dwarfed other concerns. Interestingly, each of these three concerns clearly have a direct impact on the consumer purchasing power for our survey respondents, while some of the other factors we include as survey choices that don’t register as big concerns with our survey respondents— global terrorism, global warming, trade protectionism—are, typically, perceived as having a far more indirect effect in a consumer’s ability to purchase a latte or fill the cupboard with organic, high-end groceries. 

Consumer confidence looked at another way

This year, we also asked consumers about how they view purchasing products versus unique experiences.

Among the questions we asked was how respondents’ disposable income spending habits had changed in these two categories over the previous 12 months. Twenty-eight percent spent more on experiences, and 27% spent more on products. Forty-six percent spent the same on experiences and 54% spent the same on products. This is another indication that, overwhelmingly, people are confident about their continued ability to spend on additional products and experiences.

Contact us

John G. Maxwell

Global Consumer Markets Leader, Partner, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (646) 471 3728

Oz Ozturk

Global Advisory Consumer Markets Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7703 563 054

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