Dutch And Swiss Most Satisfied With Their Economies, New Global Poll Shows

Japanese least satisfied and see no improvement in the near future

Dutch And Swiss Most Satisfied With Their Economies, New Global Poll Shows

BRUSSELS, APRIL 23, 2001 -- Confidence among consumers in the world's major industrialized economies remains high, with Western and Northern Europeans being the most satisfied and among the most optimistic about the year to come, according to new research conducted by international polling firm, Ipsos-Reid. At the other extreme are the Japanese who by far are the least satisfied with their domestic economy and the most bearish about the future.

Americans, meanwhile, remain generally upbeat but the number of U.S. adults feeling "very good" about current economic conditions has dropped significantly in the last two years. Only 1 in 10 feel "very good" about their domestic economy, down 22 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 1998 when Ipsos-Reid conducted a similar global poll. Overall, 77% of Americans feel very good or good about the economy.

The story from Europe is marked by wide swings in public sentiment between the North and South. The Dutch and Swiss polled by Ipsos-Reid show the greatest confidence in their local economies (93% feel very good or good), while Italians are among the least satisfied: only 34% feel very good or good.

Trailing far behind among the 16 countries polled is Japan, where only 4% of consumers feel satisfied, a figure that remains virtually unchanged since 1998. A total of 8,500 consumers in 16 countries were interviewed by Ipsos-Reid in February and March.

"Sure there's a general sense among consumers that the party is winding down, but despite all the talk of pending economic disaster most consumers remain cautiously optimistic," observed Gus Schattenberg, Vice President of Global Research at Ipsos-Reid. "It's important to note that many people feel unscathed by the carnage in the financial markets over the last year, especially since most investors didn't bet the farm on Internet stocks."

"Parts of Europe really stand out, as does Asia. At one extreme, urban China is full of confidence and optimism about the future, but Japanese and South Korean consumers just can't snap out of their economic depression."

Urban Chinese are the most optimistic about economic prospects in the coming year, Ipsos-Reid also found, with 62% expecting their local economy to improve. Only 9% of Japanese polled by Ipsos-Reid expect their economy to improve, while 25% expect the economy to worsen.

About Ipsos-Reid Ipsos-Reid has been tracking public opinion around the world for more than 20 years and has become a leading provider of global public opinion and market research to private, public, and not-for-profit organizations in over 50 countries. It is a member of Paris-based Ipsos Group, ranked among the top ten research groups in the world.

The Global Express Research Methodology These international survey research data were collected via Ipsos-Reid's Global Express, a quarterly international omnibus survey. Fieldwork was conducted between February 9 and March 25, 2001. Data are based on individual surveys taken with a random sampling of adults (18+) across 16 national markets. The target sample size in each country was 500, except for the United States where 1,000 interviews were conducted. Within each country, the survey results can be said to be within 177 4.5 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire adult population been surveyed; 177 3.1 percentage points in the U.S. In 14 of these 16 surveyed countries, the samples provide full national coverage; in these countries the data were collected via randomized telephone interviewing, with the one exception of Poland where in-person door-to-door interviewing was used.

Door-to-door interviewing was also used in the two non-national samples of Brazil and China where the sample coverage was limited to the largest cities (five cities in each case).

For further information on this survey, please contact: Dan Maceluch (604) 893-1635

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