Issue no. 285
Celebration time - globally
Christmas sales were still in their hot phase at submission deadline shortly before the holidays. Were they a success for retailers? That depends, to a great extent, on consumer confidence and disposition. These affect the willingness to purchase and are important economic factors. The European retail trade was optimistic about Christmas sales in many places - thanks to a positive consumer attitude, especially in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Nielsen, the international market research institute, determined this in the fall on the basis of a worldwide online survey of consumer confidence and disposition. This basic market sentiment was due primarily to the good employment situation.
Certainly, apprehension concerning the economic situation is on the rise again due to the debt crisis and other threatening clouds on the horizon - especially in the particularly affected southern European countries. In Germany and Austria, too, consumer confidence is decreasing slightly - even more strongly in Switzerland. But the entire DACH (D-Germany, A-Austria, CH-Switzerland) region continues to have a high level of consumer confidence, well above the European average.
But confidence is a strange thing. I was in Japan for a short time in October. That country has been in an economic black hole for 20 years. This year, then, came the climax: earthquakes and tsunami not only completely destroyed the entire infrastruture of wide regions but also triggered the most extreme nuclear accident. An earlier inspiration edition in 2011 undoubtedly provided an intimation of the consequences, at least for retail trade. It is difficult to divine the mood of the Japanese currently, but one thing is obvious: they have completely lost confidence in their politicians. That is not a good sign in times of crisis. Compared to them, we here in Europe have a blissful existence. So let us continue to trust in our stable economy, on appropriate direction in politics, instead of succumbing to black pessimism or even panic. A positive (consumer) disposition is the most important driving force for mastering a crisis!
Trusting 2012 will be a good year.