Half of the public across 29 countries think their country is in recession
A latest wave of the Ipsos Global Inflation Monitor finds in 26 of 29 countries more people think their country is in recession than think it is not. Almost two-thirds expect inflation will continue to rise over the next year, while one-third expect their disposable income to fall.
- Public sentiment is subdued, with more saying they think their country is in recession than think it is not.
- Globally an average of 33% are ‘just about getting by’ financially with an additional 28% reporting they are finding it difficult financially.
- Close to seven in ten expect an increase in the cost of their food shopping, utility/energy costs and other household shopping over the next six months.
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) expect the rate of inflation in their country to rise in the next 12 months.
- The global public are most likely to cite the state of the global economy, interest rates in their country and the policies of their national government as contributing to the rising cost of living. Each is mentioned by seven in ten or more. Just under two-thirds mention the Russian invasion of Ukraine and businesses making excessive profits.
The latest wave of the Ipsos global inflation monitor highlights continuing economic pessimism among people in many countries around the world, although there are signs of this pessimism beginning to lighten in many countries compared with the previous wave.
A pessimistic economic outlook remains
Although few countries are currently in technical recession (defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth), 49% of the public on average across 29 countries say they think their country is in recession while just 26% say it is not (a further 26% don’t know). This includes a majority of people in nine countries, led by South Korea (79% think the economy is in recession), Hungary (78%) and Turkey (74%). There are only three countries where the public take the opposite view: in Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands more say their country is not in recession than say it is, while in Germany these views are equally balanced.
Six in ten across these countries are experiencing some level of financial pressure – this includes almost three in ten (28%) who report they are finding it difficult to get by financially and a further 33% who say they are just about getting by. In many European countries which have been in the Monitor since April 2022 the proportion finding it “very or fairly difficult” to get by has risen: from 20% to 26% in Britain, 16% to 24% in Germany and from 22% to 30% in France. By contrast, in Turkey the proportion finding it difficult has fallen from 66% in April 2022 to 47% in April 2023.
Inflation remains a significant concern for the global public, with 63% across the 29 countries expecting it to rise over the coming year. This expectation is highest in South Africa (83%), Argentina (78%) and Singapore (77%), although in all countries at least half of the public expect this will be the case. Further, most expect that inflation won’t return to what they consider to be normal levels for at least a year. Forty-six per cent say it will be at least 12 months before inflation returns to normal, with Sweden (64%), the Netherlands (60%) and Great Britain (60%) the most likely to see a slow decline in the level of inflation. Expectations for rising spending are also high. Seven in ten across the 29 markets expect the cost of their food shopping to rise over the next year (71%) with similar proportions expecting an increase in the cost of utilities such as electricity and gas (68%) and their other household shopping (67%). In all countries except South Korea, Japan and Brazil, at least six in ten say they expect grocery costs to rise over the next year. This expectation is highest in Great Britain (82%), Argentina (81%) and Australia (79%).
But there are signs of softening pessimism in many markets
Despite a very negative outlook, data from across the four waves of the Inflation Monitor suggests that the global public mood is slightly less pessimistic about the economic outlook than it was in 2022.
- Expectations for rising inflation are lower than they have been in nearly all countries surveyed: between April 2022 and April 2023 the proportion who expect inflation to rise has fallen by 28 percentage points in Germany (from 81% to 53%), 26ppt in Great Britain (85% to 59%) and 23ppt in Italy (75% to 52%).
- Expectations for falling disposable incomes have also softened: while 46% of Britons still expect their disposable income to fall over the next year, this is down from 60% in April last year. Turkey has seen a bigger change still, with expectations for falling disposable income declining by 24 points over the past year.
- There are also lower expectations for increases in relation to other areas of expenditure, including grocery shopping. Although seven in ten are expecting their grocery bill to rise over the year, this is lower than it was in 2022 for many countries. For instance, there has been a 17-point decline in expectations of rising grocery costs in Germany between April 2022 and 2023 (from 85% to 68%) as well as 11-point drops for Spain and Italy and a ten-point decline for Poland and Turkey. Of the 11 countries tracked over this period, only Australia has failed to record a decline in expectations for rising grocery costs.
What is driving rising prices?
The rising cost of living is seen as having both global and national drivers. Across the 29 markets, around seven in ten attribute a great deal or a fair amount of responsibility for rising prices to the state of the global economy (73%), interest rates in their country (71%) and the policies of the national government (70%).
This is higher that the proportion who say the same about the Russian invasion of Ukraine (64%), businesses making excessive profits (63%), or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (57%). Workers demanding pay increases (53%) and immigration into the country (50%) are least likely of the eight potential drivers of inflation in the survey, to be seen as contributing a great deal or a fair amount to rising prices.
There is a close balance between those countries that rank national and global causes for the rising cost of living first. In 14 markets, more “national” causes are top: this includes 11 countries where national interest rates are rated as the biggest contributor to the rising cost of living (including South Korea, South Africa, Australia and Sweden) and a further three countries which rate the policies of their national government top (Argentina, Hungary and Mexico). In a further fourteen, more global drivers are first: nine put the state of the global economy top (including Great Britain, Thailand and Colombia) and in five it is the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands). Just two countries select options further down the list: In India, businesses making excessive profits is ranked as the biggest contributor to the rising cost of living, while in Turkey it is immigration.
About this study
This 29-country Global Advisor survey was conducted between March 24th 2023 and April 7th 2023 via the Ipsos Online Panel system among 20,570 adults aged 18-74 in Canada, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States, 20-74 in Indonesia and Thailand, 21-74 in Singapore, and 16-74 in all other nations. The “Global Country Average” reflects the average result for all the countries where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country and is not intended to suggest a total result.