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Consumers in key developing markets less concerned about debt

16 July, 2012



LONDON — Kantar Media’s “Global Consumer Perspectives Report” of ten of the world’s largest markets reveals that Western consumers are considerably more anxious about getting into debt than consumers in the developing countries.

The report, which analysed middle-class consumers from a total sample of almost 450,000 adults, reveals that consumers in Germany are almost twice as likely as their counterparts elsewhere to claim “I don’t like the idea of being in debt”. By contrast, respondents in South Africa, India and Mexico are the least likely to be concerned about getting into debt.

The effects of the ‘credit crunch’ continue to be felt among the Western economies as interest rates remain at record lows in many markets and banks remain cautious about lending, but the number of consumers with a personal credit card remains robust. In Germany, the USA and Brazil just over 60% of middle-class adults own a credit card – rising to almost 75% in the UK. In China, on the other hand, just 15% have a credit card (see full data table in appendix).

The report also reveals a clear correlation between attitudes to debt and how consumers in each market use their credit cards. For instance, middle-class individuals in South Africa are among the least concerned when it comes to being in debt and they are also the most likely to agree that “with a credit card, I can afford the things I wouldn’t normally buy” suggesting that these consumers are more likely to be care-free spenders while extending their purchasing potential through credit.

However, just 3% of middle-class consumers in Germany agree with the statement, along with 14% of Britons. Whereas in Turkey, South Africa and Brazil almost half of all those surveyed agree.

Sandy Livingstone, Director, TGI Insights & Integration at Kantar Media, explains “When it comes to debt, the attitudinal difference between developing and developed markets is stark. It seems clear that the legacy from the ‘credit crunch’ and residual European debt crisis has contributed to a greater financial prudence exhibited by consumers in the key Western markets. However, consumers in developing markets are less inhibited by the global economic downturn and more prepared to use personal credit for purchases that they may not normally afford to make.”

Previous findings from Kantar Media’s “Global Consumer Perspectives Report” revealed that middle-class consumers in developing countries are more likely to consider money to be the best measure of success, perhaps underscoring how accessing personal credit in these markets is as much about status as it is increasing purchase power.

Charts with data from all ten markets are available below

For further information about the “Global Consumer Perspectives Report”, visit or to access one of our seminars revealing further insights from the Global Consumer Perspectives report, please contact

About the Global Consumer Perspectives Report
Global Consumer Perspectives is a unique in-depth analysis of ten of the world’s major markets: Great Britain, Germany, USA, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey. Available as a global overview or a bespoke market report, Global Consumer Perspectives uses TGI (Target Group Index) data to develop a wealth of consumer insights based, among others, on demographics, purchase behaviour and attitudes.

Fieldwork and sample size for Global Consumer Perspectives Report:
In total: 449,000 respondents
In 2011: 234,000 respondents
Fieldwork from Feb 10 – Oct 11
In 2007: 215,000 respondents
Fieldwork from Oct 05 – Nov 07

Data Manipulation – Global TGI Index
When comparing attitudinal data across different markets, it is important to take into account the differences in response styles. For instance, consumers in India tend towards the extremes of the response scale, while European respondents are inclined to avoid them.
The Global TGI Index is calculated by multiplying the sum of the percentage agreeing across all attitude statements and across all 10 countries. This total is then divided by the number of statements available in all markets. The individual percentage is now divided by the average percentages to create an index – allowing for an accurate comparison of agreement levels across markets.

About Kantar Media
Kantar Media provides strategic advice and competitive intelligence to the world’s leading brands, publishers, agencies and industry bodies, helping them navigate and succeed in a rapidly evolving media industry. This includes analysis of paid media opportunities; counsel on brand reputation, corporate management and consumer engagement through owned media; and, evaluating consumers’ reactions in earned media. Kantar Media provides clients with a broad range of insights, from audience research, competitive intelligence, vital consumer behaviour and digital insights, marketing effectiveness and online influence. Our experts currently work with 22,000 companies tracking 3 million brands in 50 countries.

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