Economic Worries Shape New Year's Resolutions

The economy remains the number one priority on the global stage. More than half of participants in a new global survey by Survey Sampling International (SSI) cite "improving the economy" as the most important issue to tackle in  2011. Members of SSI's online research panels in 8 countries chose the economy as their top concern from a list of 8 issues, including reforming healthcare, preserving the environment, preventing terrorism, reforming education, monitoring the food industry, improving relations with other countries and preparing for natural disasters. Respondents from Japan (71%) and the US (70%) are most focused on today's economic challenges.


Germany is the only country where respondents do not see the economy as the primary issue for their government to address. More than a quarter of German respondents say that "reforming healthcare" should be the government's chief concern. Australian respondents also are worried about healthcare, splitting their votes fairly evenly between the economy (34 %) and healthcare (31%).


SSI's findings are based on an Internet study of 4,000+ adults on its online panels. Countries covered include the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, China, and Singapore.


Economic Worries Shape New Year's Resolutions


Survey participants' economic fears are reflected in their New Year's resolutions. "Improving financial situation" is among the top-two resolutions globally. Around the world, 40% of respondents are resolving to improve their financial situations in 2011. The sole exception is Japan, where only a quarter of panelists are focusing their resolutions on financial issues.


Although the economy is on almost everyone's mind, it is not the only concern driving New Year's resolutions. In the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia, "losing weight" is as likely to be the top resolution as "improving financial situation." "Developing a healthy habit" and "getting organized" also are top choices for New Year's resolutions around the globe.



Optimistic Despite Economic Concerns


Although economic worries linger, people across the globe are optimistic when looking forward to 2011. More than twice as many respondents expect to be "much or somewhat better off" next year than those who anticipate being "much or somewhat worse off."


Chinese and Singaporean respondents are most optimistic about their prospects, with 77% and 65% of respondents respectively believing their financial pictures will improve in 2011. In contrast, France and Japan have the highest levels of pessimism, with 29% and 32% respectively expecting declines in their financial situations and less than a quarter anticipating improvement. UK respondents are evenly split between economic optimists (29%) and pessimists (32%).


Although there is general optimism in most countries, respondents still are not ready to plan for major purchases. Less than half of the respondents in the US (43%), Germany (43%), France (47%), UK (48%) and Japan (48%) say that they will buy a computer, flat screen TV, car, boat or home in 2011.


The picture is far brighter in China, where 85% of respondents plan a major purchase in 2011 and Singapore, where 73% are looking forward to buying big ticket items. The financial optimism among respondents in these countries appears to be translating into purchase plans, perhaps due to the perceived need for technology items, such as laptops.





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