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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Economic Climate and Consumer Confidence arrow UK Less Impacted By Recession Than Other Countries, But More Inclined To Take Decisive Action
UK Less Impacted By Recession Than Other Countries, But More Inclined To Take Decisive Action PDF Print E-mail
Written by GFK NOP   
08 Jun 2009

The first ‘Global Consumer Recession Index’ reveals consumer impacts, attitudes and reactions to the recession vary significantly across countries.

Britons are less affected and concerned about the recession than those in many other countries around the world, but are taking more decisive action than most to deal with it.

These are the results of the first ‘Global Consumer Recession Index’, which questioned 30,000 people in 25 countries on how they are feeling, thinking and acting as a result of the recession.

The new Index, compiled by GfK Roper Consulting, reveals that different countries are experiencing very difference stages in their response to the global depression.

In Asian markets, for example, we are seeing the highest level of people listing concern about  ‘recession and unemployment’ as one of their top three worries, but they show less evidence of direct personal impact as yet.

In other countries, most notably Turkey and the US, consumers are experiencing more direct negative impact and actual economic distress, while in others – mainly the US, Australia, Canada and the UK - consumers are well ahead in making changes to their lives; they are in reaction to the economy climate and most likely to be doing things to cut back and save money.

Nick Chiarelli, Director of Consumer Trends, GfK Roper Consulting comments:

“The global recession is not equally distributed. In some ways, it might be better to think of it as a whole series of local recessions. Through this new Index we can start to quantify the mood of consumers in different countries and their varying reactions to the current economic climate. The UK rating in this first Index is interesting – revealing that our consumers fall somewhere around the middle of the 25 countries in terms of concern and direct impact; and yet we in the UK are more inclined than many other countries to be taking decisive action in response to the recession. Businesses can use this information to adapt country-specific strategies and create messages that address the precise combination of elements prevalent in that market.”

GfK Roper Consulting has combined their three measures – concern, distress and reaction - to give each country an overall ‘Global Consumer Recession Index score, in terms of how consumers are feeling about the economy and what they are doing about it.

The highest indexes are seen in the US, Taiwan, Canada, Korea and the UK

Concern asks consumers to list their top-three worries from a list of 21 economic, social, and political issues.

This year economic issues hold sway, led by “recession and unemployment”, followed by worry about “inflation and high prices” and “having money enough to live right and pay the bills”. Asian consumers express the highest overall levels of economic concern, with the UK coming in 14th out of 25 global markets in this regard, followed by the US in 15th place.

When it comes to distress, however, the picture is quite different. Globally, 62 per cent of consumers experienced a negative event (e.g. losing their job or having difficulty paying their bills) in the past 12 months - with most distress in Turkey, and the US not far behind. The UK ranks 11th out of 25 countries in this respect.

When it comes to reactions, another group of countries comes to the fore. Consumers in English-dominant countries – i.e., the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK – are the most likely to be doing things to cut back and save money.

The top cutback area worldwide (out of 26 measured) is ‘dining out’, and the top-ranked money-saving strategy (out of 10 measured) is ‘shopping more carefully for everyday items’.

About GfK Roper Consulting
GfK Roper Consulting, part of GfK NOP, provides consultants in the UK and US who specialise in putting consumer understanding to work for our clients and their brands, offering an individually tailored, consultancy based approach that focuses on producing actionable insights.

About GfK Roper Reports Worldwide
Roper Reports Worldwide provides deep insight into consumer drivers in every region of the world.

The study has been conducted on an annual basis for 12 years. RRW delves beyond demographics to profile the lifestyles, values, attitudes and buying behaviour of consumers in more than 25 developed and developing countries.  

RRW provides a trends perspective that highlights shifts at the country, regional and global level, furthermore, RRW offers unique tools for understanding.

For further information, please visit our website:

London - May 2009

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