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Consumers see economy recover in 3 years

Dubai, March 8, 2010

Consumers in major Middle Eastern and Western countries expect the global economy to revert to pre-crisis levels within the next three years and believe that conditions are not as bad as reported by media, says a new study.

The consumer confidence study conducted by Real Opinions in conjunction with marketing communications consultancy Orient Planet covered the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the US, Russia and Germany.

According to the study Eastern and Western households reported almost similar drops in their monthly expenditures, at aggregates of 61.5 and 67 per cent respectively.

'Of the more than 300 UAE families surveyed, 70 per cent said that they had streamlined spending in keeping with the times. However, a significant 19 per cent said that they did not change their budgets, with 6 per cent even reporting increased spending,' the study added.

'It is very hard to base corporate plans on statistics given today’s highly unpredictable markets. That’s why we see more organizations focusing on monitoring consumer attitudes, so that they can take a more reactive business approach,' said Dan Healy, CEO of Real Opinions.

The economy has become so interconnected that international consumer confidence has become a good gauge of economic trends. There is an urgent need to more accurately measure the activities, perceptions and needs of consumers as we enter what many believe to be the year when slow and steady economic recovery starts,” he pointed out.

Nidal Abou Zaki, managing director of Orient Planet, said the philosophy of ‘customer is king’ must be at the fore of doing business in order to cope with the effects of the downturn.

'Our study shows that, while consumers have been impacted by the crisis, they believe that the situation is not that bad and that full recovery is possible within a matter of just a few years. It is thus very important for organizations to know their clients better and send the right message out to the markets so that they can be in an advantageous position once the economy starts rebounding,” he commented.

On an average, the respondents expected economic recovery to begin within the next 18 months.

'Middle Eastern consumers predicted an earlier start at 16 months, as opposed to an average of 19 months for their Western counterparts. The UAE posted an optimistic 14-month projection for the commencement of a rebound, although it foresees full recovery to be realized by around late 2012,' the study said.

More consumer confidence studies are being undertaken over other forms of market forecasts, which are being perceived as less effective in light of the extended downturn.

The UAE and Saudi were included in the study due to their strong influence on the Middle Eastern economy. The 1,555 respondents from the sample countries showed that, on average, 46 per cent of consumers believe that the crisis has not been as damaging as portrayed by media, Zaki said.-TradeArabia News Service




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