A positive attitude about retailing is all around with Australians preparing to spend in 2013, according to the latest Nielsen report.

More than half (55 per cent) of Australian consumers believe the next 12 months will be a good time to buy things they want and need – a significant 13 per cent increase from the previous quarter.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, which measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 Internet consumers in 58 countries.

Despite a three point fall in Australian consumer confidence overall to 95 in Q4 2012, consumers signalled renewed hopes for a positive retail environment for 2013.

“Pleasingly, the survey results point to renewed hopes for a positive retail environment in 2013. Despite a slight drop in consumer confidence, the figures show a turning point in the financial stability of most Australians,” Chris Percy, Nielsen Pacific managing director, said.

“The number of consumers signalling their intention to buy the things they want or need over the coming year indicates a shift to positive sentiment when it comes to consumer spending, helping retailers to breathe a sigh of relief.”

Nielsen analysis shows consumer savings intentions dropped this quarter by one per cent on last quarter, signalling that Australians continue to become more comfortable with spending.

“Globally, we have seen a drop in savings by three percentage points, and Australia is following that trend. Locally, retailers can breathe a sigh of relief as consumers become more comfortable with their discretionary spending,” Percy said.

“When asked how they will use spare cash after covering essential living expenses, one in four said they would buy new clothes and one in three intends to put their spare cash towards holidaying.”

On a global level, there was an overall one per cent decline in Q4 2012 to 91 when compared with Q3, but an increase of two points from Q4 2011. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

Consumer confidence fell in Europe by three points (71) and one point in the United States (89), while Asia-Pacific (101) and Latin America (96) reported consumer confidence increases of one and two index points respectively. The Middle East/Africa fell four points to 96.

Of the 58 countries surveyed, North America posted the most significant decline in confidence over the past year, down 15 points to 71 in Q4 2012. And while the Asia-Pacific region reported the highest levels of confidence overall, it still experienced declines in eight of its 14 markets in Q4 compared to Q3 2012, with four-point declines in Hong Kong and Taiwan.