strsubcodechain Consumer opinion surveys - Data and Methods
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Subjects > Consumer opinion surveys

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Subject: Consumer opinion surveys

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Contact person/organisation
OECD statistics contact: stat.contact@oecd.org

Direct source
Consumer opinion survey data published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) are compiled initially by national statistical institutes, other government agencies, private research institutes, banks, and other research institutes attached to universities or other academic institutions. The OECD obtains consumer opinion survey data for 22 countries from the European Commission in lieu of their direct collection from national agencies. The countries involved are Members of both the European Union and the OECD, and comprise: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom.

Variables collected

National consumer confidence indicators
Confidence indicators compiled according to national definitions are available for all OECD countries apart from Chile, Iceland, and Norway and for all the non-member economies except India. For information on variables included and calculations of national confidence indicators please refer to country information in the metadata.


EU harmonised consumer confidence indicators
The EU harmonised consumer confidence indicator is based on answers to the following four questions with five answer alternatives to each question (a lot better, a little better, the same, a little worse, a lot worse).

(1) Expected change in financial situation of household over the next 12 months;
(2) Expected change in general economic situation over next 12 months;
(3) Expected change in unemployment over the next 12 months;
(4) Expected change in savings of household over next 12 months.

The confidence indicator is expressed as the balance of positive over negative results. The confidence indicator published by the EC is constructed with double weights on the extremes. Responses “a lot better” and “a lot worse” get the weight 1 and “ a little better” and “ a little worse” get the weight 1/2, and “the same” has zero weight.

Consumer prices: future tendency
The question asked for this indicator is "By comparison with the past 12 months, how do you expect that consumer prices will develop in the next 12 months? They will (++) increase more rapidly (+) increase at the same rate (=) increase at a slower rate (-) stay about the same (--) fall (N) don't know.

This question refers to expected inflation rate in the United States and South Africa.

Economic situation: future tendency
The question asked for the compilation of this indicator is "How do you expect the general economic situation in this country to develop over the next 12 months? It will (++) get a lot better (+) get a little better (=) stay the same (-) get a little worse (--) get a lot worse (N) don't know.



Key statistical concept
Consumer opinion surveys are carried out to obtain qualitative information for use in monitoring the current economic situation. The information collected in consumer opinion surveys is described as qualitative because respondents are asked to assign qualities (opinions), rather than quantities, to the variables of interest.

Typically, consumer opinion surveys are based on a sample of households and respondents are asked about their intentions regarding major purchases, their economic situation now compared with the recent past and their expectations for the immediate future.

The Main Economic Indicators includes only three of the harmonised European indicators, namely the:

1. confidence indicator;
2. consumer prices: future tendency; and
3. general economic situation: future tendency.


Aggregation and consolidation
The EU harmonised consumer confidence indicator is based on answers to the following four questions with five answer alternatives to each question (a lot better, a little better, the same, a little worse, a lot worse). (1) Expected change in financial situation of household over the next 12 months; (2) Expected change in general economic situation over next 12 months; (3) Expected change in unemployment over the next 12 months; and (4) Expected change in savings of household over next 12 months. The confidence indicator is expressed as the balance of positive over negative results. The confidence indicator published by the EC is constructed with double weights on the extremes. Responses “a lot better” and “a lot worse” get the weight 1 and “ a little better” and “ a little worse” get the weight 1/2, and “the same” has zero weight.

Seasonal adjustment
The harmonised European series are seasonally adjusted using DAINTIES software for which the direct method is used (i.e. national unadjusted series are aggregated prior to seasonal adjustment).


Recommended uses and limitations
Consumer opinion surveys provide information on consumer sentiment based on both the general economic situation and the financial situation of the individual or family. Data obtained from these surveys are useful in their own right but are also used in the compilation of consumer confidence indicators and in the compilation of other composite and composite leading indicators where they may be combined with data derived from business tendency surveys and / or statistics from conventional quantitative surveys.

The results of consumer opinion surveys are still subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, and users are advised to refer to methodological information (metadata) to ascertain the relevance of the statistics to their need(s). Particular attention should be given to the wording of questionnaires used to collect information from respondents, the sample frame used for the selection of respondent households, the size of the sample and the survey response rate.




Subject: OECD Indicator


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Geographic coverage

Harmonised CCIs are calculated for all OECD member countries except for Chile, Iceland and Norway for which national indicators (or suitable proxy) are not available.

The harmonised indices are available for 5 non-members: Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russian Federation and South Africa.



Key statistical concept
A standardisation process entailing a period conversion, a smoothing and an amplitude-adjustment is performed on each confidence indicator in order to achieve comparability across countries and business cycles for both the OECD CLIs and the de-trended GDP. See the OECD Business Cycle Clock (http://stats.oecd.org/mei/bcc/default.html) for a cross-country comparison of these indicators.

Three steps are undertaken to standarise the indicators:

1. Periodicity

Quarterly indicators are first converted to monthly frequency. Such a conversion is achieved through linear interpolation of quarterly series followed by an alignment to the most appropriate month of the quarter. Most series are aligned to the central month of the quarter, though quarterly series based on surveys conducted in a given month of the quarter are aligned to the month itself.

2. Smoothing

In order to remove irregular roughness, seasonal adjusted series are smoothed by applying the Hodrick-Prescott filter.  Fluctuations with periodicity below 6 month are cut-off, which corresponds to setting the multiplier lambda to 1.  In so doing, we preserve the trend -cycle component of the time series.

 

3. Amplitude-adjustment

Smoothed series are adjusted to match the amplitudes of the de-trended GDP. To do so we first normalise the series by subtracting the mean of the series and dividing with its mean absolute deviation, and then rescale them by adding 100 to the result. More information on the calculation can be found at http://www.oecd.org/std/leading-indicators/45430429.pdf.

Aggregation and consolidation
While the Euro Area aggregate is provided by the European Commission, the remaining aggregates are computed by the Secretariat.Based on the standardised confidence indicators, zone aggregates for the business and consumer area are calculated as annually chain-linked Laspeyres indices using as weights annual GDP at current prices adjusted for PPPs. A zone aggregate is calculated if the overall weight of the available components is greater than 75%. Country weights for each individual link are the previous year's gross domestic product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation of country GDP, in billions of current international dollar.Weights up until 1981 refer to the GDP PPP value in 1980.Country average values are calculated as the average of the country's indicator from the previous year. The linking point is February of each year.

Weights
The source of the weights data, updated twice a year in October and April, is the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) database. The Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates are produced by the International Comparisons Program (ICP). The PPP exchange rate estimates, maintained and published by the World Bank, the OECD, and other international organizations, are used by WEO to calculate its own PPP weight time series.



Subject: OECD Indicator
Measure: Normal = 100 SA


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Unit of measure used
IDX