SA is in recession and will not come out of it anytime soon, a majority of consumers who participated in a consumer confidence survey by global performance management company Nielsen Holdings said.

The company released its global survey of consumer confidence and spending intentions for the fourth quarter of 2015 on Monday. More than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries were surveyed.

South African consumers are also worried about the economy, with 34% citing it as their biggest or second-biggest concern followed by job security, debt, crime and rising food prices over the next six months.

"Continued drought, coupled with a tumbling currency and political turmoil, will adversely affect job prospects, consumer food prices and overall sentiment in 2016," Nielsen SA’s MD, Craig Henry, said.

Regarding perceptions about local job prospects this year, 74% of respondents said not so good or bad, 17% said good — which was down five percentage points — and 4% said excellent.

Of those surveyed, 83% said they had changed their spending patterns due to economic woes. They were spending less on takeaways, new clothes and home entertainment, were trying to save on gas and electricity, and were switching to cheaper grocery brands.

Perceptions of personal finances remained relatively stable. The majority of people surveyed — 57% — viewed their personal finances as excellent or good, while 34% saw them as not so good and 6% viewed them as bad.

Despite perceptions of finances remaining stable, most of those surveyed believed it was not a good time to spend, given rising costs.

After paying for necessities, 41% of those surveyed said they spent remaining money on paying off debts, credit cards and loans. Almost 40% put spare cash into savings while 21% spent it on entertainment — a drop from 24% in the previous two quarters.