Consumer confidence is at its highest level in two years, with nearly half of Kiwis believing the country is out of recession, job prospects are looking good, and many are planning to put more money into home improvements and savings.

The latest global Nielsen consumer confidence survey, carried out between August 14 and September 6, showed New Zealand slightly ahead of Australia, with consumer confidence up from the last quarter, but behind the United States.

"Confidence levels of New Zealanders are the highest we've seen in two years and nearly half of Kiwis (47 per cent) now believe we are out of a recession, an improvement of 12 percentage points in the last year," said Nielsen NZ managing director Rob Clark.

"People are feeling slightly better about their job prospects. However, there remains caution around the state of personal finances and their willingness to buy the things they want and need."


Those with spare cash planned to increase their savings and pay off debt and those intending to add to a retirement fund nearly doubled from the last quarter from 11 per cent to 19 per cent, Mr Clark said.

The hot property market also featured in people's money plans. "More people said they would spend on home improvements and decorating, further evidence more people are looking to plan for the future, especially as the housing market continues to heat up," Mr Clark said.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and North America.

The results have a 0.6 per cent margin of error. APNZ