Middle East Optimism Continues with Consumer Confidence in UAE Highest Since 2009: MasterCard Index

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MasterCard  today revealed the results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide IndexTMof Consumer Confidence, which found that, with a score of 86.0, consumer confidence levels in the UAE are at their highest since 2009.

Consumers in the UAE are very optimistic in their attitudes towards all five indicators measured. When compared to the previous edition of the Index released 6 months ago, consumers are most optimistic about Economy (89.1 vs. 84.4), Employment (88.9 vs. 82.2) and Quality of Life (88.6 vs. 89.3). All indicators of consumer confidence were rated as positive, including Regular Income (86.2 vs. 85.7) and the Stock Market (77.0 vs. 69.0).

The survey also highlighted that female respondents (88.2) tend to be more optimistic about their prospects for the coming months than their male counterparts (84.0) and that consumers under the age of 30 (89.5) are more optimistic than respondents over the age of 30 (85.0).

“The consumer confidence score for the UAE is at its highest since 2009, highlighting that the positive performance seen in key sectors like retail and hospitality is trickling down to impact consumer sentiment. The UAE’s continued growth has led to consistently high scores in the last couple of years,” said Eyad Al-Kourdi, vice president and country manager, UAE, MasterCard Worldwide.

Across the Middle East, the level of consumer confidence is very optimistic at an average of 83.5, and this sentiment is reflected across all five indicators. When compared to the previous edition of the Index released 6 months ago, respondents in the Middle East are most optimistic about Regular Income (89.8 vs. 91.3), Employment (85.5 vs. 85.5) and the Economy (84.4 vs. 86.5). Consumer sentiment towards Quality of Life (82.9 vs. 87.6) and the Stock Market (74.9 vs. 77.8) is also positive.

The Middle East’s aggregate score of 83.5 also remains higher than that of Asia/ Pacific (57.2) and Africa (76.1).

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is based on a survey conducted between 24 April 2012 and 10 June 2012 among 11,367 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 9th 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.

MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence

Amongst other findings in the Middle East:

Consumer confidence is highest in Qatar with a score of 96.6.

All markets surveyed across the Middle East, with the exception of Lebanon, reflected positive levels of consumer confidence, with scores of 84 or higher.

Consumer Confidence in Egypt is at a record high of 90.7.

Consumer Confidence Results:

 

Methodology

Respondents were asked 5 questions pertaining to their 6-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 5 component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the 5 component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.

About the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence
The MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 20-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region. In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low score of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.

The survey comprising the Asia/Pacific markets began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Markets from the Middle East and Africa were included in the Index from 2004. Twenty five markets now participate in the survey: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from 24 April 2012 to 10 June 2012. A total of 11,367 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 25 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market.

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 percent confidence level.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.

MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.

Contacts:
Jandre Nieuwoudt, Golin Harris – Dubai, +971 50 248 3351; jnieuwoudt@golinharris.com

Nadia Ejaz, Golin Harris – Dubai, +971 4 3323305; nejaz@golinharris.com

Marc Mcilhone

Marc Mcilhone is ArabBrains' Editor - sourcing news and features content and overseeing the work of the site’s contributors. Marc’s work is informed by his technical background in architecture having worked for some of the UK’s leading practices on projects within the education, healthcare and housing sectors. Marc has a particular interest in how innovators are creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. Please email press releases and news to: editor@arabbrains.com


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