Greece’s consumer confidence index, compiled by Nielsen, reached a historic high in the third quarter of the year, although the majority of Greeks still have doubts over the country’s exit from the economic crisis in the next 12 months.
The confidence index jumped from 72 points in the second quarter to 84 in the third, a rise of 12 points that took it much closer to the European average of 88 points in the July-September period.
All three parameters the index is based on showed an improvement over the summer quarter. There was a considerable improvement in Greeks’ expectations as regards their personal finances in the next 12 months, with optimists increasing by 13 percentage points quarter-on-quarter to 46 percent.
Even so, 56 percent of Greeks still weren’t sure whether the country would manage to emerge from its economic hardship in the next 12 months, though this is considerably lower than the rate of 72 percent recorded a year earlier. Just over two-thirds of Greeks (68 percent) said they believe the country remains in recession, a rate that has been more or less unchanged since the first quarter of 2018.
Despite the improvement in the confidence index and the increased optimism, the rate of Greek households striving to reduce their spending remains particularly high, as 63 percent said they were trying to cut expenses. The two principal moves Greeks are making to contain their costs are to reduce their out-of-home entertainment (62 percent, the same as a year earlier) and their spending on apparel (59 percent, up from 56 percent in the third quarter of 2018). Most Greeks (54 percent) said they seek out cheaper supermarket products, though this is significantly lower than last year’s 71 percent rate.
Greece ranks top among European countries in terms of job insecurity. More than three in 10 (31 percent) said they were worried about their work, the same rate as those concerned about the economy, while 22 percent stated that they fretted about their personal health.
According to the Nielsen data, the most optimistic nation in Europe over the third quarter was the Danes, with their consumer confidence index at 118 points, while the most pessimistic were the Ukrainians, with just 69 points. The global average stood at 107 points, the same as in the second quarter of the year.