Blog: Leonie BarrieHigh spirits defy global downturn

Leonie Barrie | 8 August 2008

They're a cheery bunch, those Dutch. Whether it's the vibrant support of the country's football fans, or the relaxed atmosphere of the country's capital Amsterdam, there is definitely something of the joie de vivre about the Dutch.

They're also apparently pretty relaxed about the global economic downturn. According to research giants Nielsen, the Netherlands is one of the few countries where consumer confidence is on the rise. Over the last six months, consumer confidence has risen by 5%: only the Taiwanese are more optimistic.

Alas, that confidence is in short supply around the world. Nielsen research claims that global consumer confidence has fallen to a record low, with 56% of online consumers believing their country is in a recession.

Alongside New Zealanders and Latvians, it seems the biggest pessimists are in the US. Consumer confidence across the pond is at its lowest level since 1992 and the days of Clinton's refrain: “It's the economy, stupid.”

Non-discount retailers, in particular, are “feeling the pinch”, according to Nielsen. Private-label sales are growing but only as commodity cost rises fuel inflation; volume sales have dipped slightly.

All is not doom and gloom however, says Nielsen. “There are opportunities in a slowing economy to lead the recovery,” the researchers say.

“Category-specific opportunities exist to maximise in-store efforts. For products that are performing strong and showing immunity during a recession, manufacturers and retailers in these industries have the opportunity to increase product exposure even further.

“For products at the other end of the spectrum, companies would be well-advised to target their marketing efforts to shore up performance and maintain traction during tough times.

“Now is the time to plan for recovery.”


Asia facing up to increased competition

Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...


Cambodia raises garment worker wages

The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...


Sportswear initiatives start to take shape

The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...


Hanjin Shipping collapse triggers fear of West Coast port repeat

The recent bankruptcy of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, the world's seventh-largest container shipper, at the end of August, has left billions of dollars worth of merchandise in limbo, leaving the fal...

just-style homepage

Forgot your password?