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Consumer confidence high in UAE, says MasterCard survey.

MasterCard survey shows consumer confidence in the Middle East is at its highest since the index was rolled out in 2004

MasterCard has revealed the results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, which found that, with a score of 82.1, consumers in the UAE are very optimistic about the coming months.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence (Index) is based on a survey conducted between 5 December 2011 and 8 February 2012 on 12,915 respondents aged 18 to 64 years in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Now in its 20th year in Asia/Pacific and its ninth year in the Middle East and Africa, the Index is the region's most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey. The Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market over the next six months, based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

Consumers in the UAE are optimistic in their attitudes towards all five indicators. Consumers are most optimistic about Quality of Life (89.3 vs. 93.6 in previous Index) and Regular Income (85.7 vs. 93.8). However, all indicators of consumer confidence were rated as being positive, including Economy (84.4 vs. 93.7), Employment (82.2 vs. 91.4) and the Stock Market (69.0 vs. 92.1).

The survey also highlighted that female respondents (83.2) tend to be more optimistic about their prospects for the coming months than their male counterparts (81.5) and that consumers under the age of 30 (82.3) are more optimistic than respondents over the age of 30 (82.0).

"We are pleased to see that the UAE has shown consistently strong consumer confidence scores for the last few years, as consumers in the market remain optimistic about all indicators measured. Led by the strong performance of the retail and hospitality sectors, in particular, the market sentiment in the UAE is becoming increasingly upbeat and this is encouraging news for the business community," said Raghu Malhotra, division president, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

In the Middle East, the consumer confidence score of 85.7 is not only an increase as compared to six months ago (82.8), but consumer confidence levels are at a record high since the Index was launched in the region in 2004.

Respondents indicated an increase in confidence levels for four of the five indicators as compared to six months ago, and were most optimistic about Regular Income (91.3 vs. 86.3). Consumers in the Middle East were also very optimistic about Quality of Life (87.6 vs. 81.5), Economy (86.5 vs. 82.5) and Employment (85.5 vs. 82.9). Despite witnessing a slight decrease in confidence levels, consumers remain very optimistic about the Stock Market (77.8 vs. 81.0). The Middle East's aggregate score of 85.7 also remains substantially higher than that of Asia/ Pacific (52.1) and Africa (73.8).

Respondents were asked five questions pertaining to their six-month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in five component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the five component index scores range from 0 - 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.

The Index is calculated based with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. Five economic factors are measured: Employment, the Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The responses are consumers' thoughts on the six months ahead. Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four to five percentage points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

2012 CPI Financial. All rights reserved.

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Publication:CPI Financial
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:May 22, 2012
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