North Americans kept a recessionary mindset in the first quarter of 2013, but they cautiously opened their wallets and exhibited a desire to spend again, according to findings from the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. Forty-two percent said they plan to spend on discretionary items this year, a 6-point rise from Q4 2012 and a welcomed increase from the average of 33 percent over the past three years.

In the US, 22 percent plan to take a vacation and spend on out-of- home entertainment, an increase of 2 percentage points each.

North America led the other regions in terms of spending intentions, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, which reported an increase of 2 percentage points to 39 percent. Comparatively, spending intentions declined among respondents in Latin America (34%), Middle East/Africa (30%) and Europe (27%).

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

"Buoyed by a nascent revival of the U.S. housing market, a strengthening of employment rates and an increase in retail sales in the first quarter, Americans demonstrated an eagerness to spend again,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “However, volatile economic factors, such as inflation and fuel prices, continue to affect U.S. households, which will make continued growth an ongoing challenge.”