Concerns About the Economy Wane as Fears About War (and Other Worries) Increase

Concerns About the Economy Wane as Fears About War (and Other Worries) Increase

As global consumer confidence has been on a slow and steady rise for two-and-a half years, concerns about the economy have waned. So what’s keeping us awake at night? While the economy remains a top concern around the world, fears about war increased in four out of five regions of the world.

For the first time since 2011, concerns about the economy fell below 30% in every region. One-fourth of global respondents (25%) were worried about the economy in the third quarter, down from 29% at the start of this year. Meanwhile, the percentage of those worried about war doubled from 4% in the first quarter to 8% in Nielsen’s latest consumer confidence results.

In North America, 27% of respondents said the economy was their biggest or second-biggest concern for the next six months—down from 34% in the previous quarter. Other concerns that waned in the third quarter included debt (16%), food prices (15%) and fuel prices (9%), down 5, 6 and 6 percentage points, respectively. Conversely, fears about terrorism spiked 8 percentage points to 14%, concerns about war rose 5 percentage points to 9%, and worries about work/life balance increased 3 percentage points to 12%.

Health over wealth was the motto this quarter in in Asia-Pacific, as concerns about health replaced the economy as the biggest or second-biggest concern, climbing 6 percentage points to 30%. Worries about the economy declined 3 percentage points to 27%, and concerns about jobs remained stable at 21%. Work/life balance worries increased 2 percentage points to 27% from to the second quarter.

In Europe, 21% of respondents said job security was their biggest or second-biggest concern for the next six months, down 3 percentage points from the previous quarter. Worries about the economy also waned, dropping 1 percentage point to 20% in the third quarter. Other declining concerns include utility bills (19%) and health (17%), down 1 and 2 percentage points, respectively. Conversely, worries about war increased 8 percentage points to 18%, and fears about terrorism rose 4 percentage points to 9% from the second quarter.

Job security was the biggest or second-biggest concern in the Latin America and Middle East/Africa regions for 25% and 29% of respondents, respectively, down 1 and 2 percentage points, respectively, from the second quarter. Worries about the economy, however, bucked the downward trend reported in the other regions and increased 2 percentage points in both Latin America (to 26%) and the Middle East/Africa (to 22%). Other concerns in Latin America included crime (21%) and health (20%), which each dropped 1 percentage point. Other major concerns in the Middle East/Africa included parents’ welfare (18%) and terrorism (14%), which declined 1 and 3 percentage points, respectively.

The report also discusses:

  • Global consumer confidence improved to 98 index points.
  • Consumers’ discretionary spending intentions and perceptions of local job markets.
  • Regional consumer attitudes and confidence scores around the world.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.


The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.