UAE consumer confidence on the rise
Dubai, April 13, 2011
The consumer confidence in the UAE remains to be trending upwards, following last quarter’s increase, while Qatar recorded the largest drop of 5 index points, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index (CCI).
This quarterly survey was conducted by the leading job site Bayt.com in conjunction with research specialists YouGov Siraj. The CCI is a measure of consumer expectations and satisfaction of various elements of the economy including inflation, job opportunities and the cost of living.
The survey found that consumer confidence in the UAE increased by 5.8 points since last December. Saud Arabia and Lebanon recorded the largest increases, moving up the index by 10.7 and 10.1 points respectively. In Morocco it dropped by 3.6 points.
As part of the CCI, respondents were asked about their personal financial circumstances and how they compared it to last year. Overall, 35 per cent say their financial position is the same as last year and a quarter, 25 per cent, say it has gotten better, the survey said.
In the UAE, 28 per cent say they are better off than last year, 35 per cent say they are in the same position and 28 per cent say they are in a worse position than last year.
Among the countries surveyed, 38 per cent in Oman say they are doing better than last year, the highest percentage recorded in the region, whereas in Jordan only 19 per cent felt their financial position is better than last year, the lowest percentage in the region.
Commenting on the findings, Amer Zureikat, VP sales at Bayt.com, said, 'The specific countries included in this CCI wave seem to be relatively stable as we are seeing them display similar figures each quarter indicating the after-effects of the recent economic crisis may be calming down somewhat, resulting in a period of recovery and growth.'
'It will be exciting to see if this sentiment can be maintained till the next quarter and beyond, and whether the region can reach a long-term period of true stability,' he noted.
In addition to financial position, CCI was assessed by asking the respondents about their level of optimism towards the future, which forms the Consumer Expectations Index (CEI). The countries varied widely in terms of their consumer expectations.
The UAE recorded an increase of 5.7 points since the last quarter with Morocco reporting a slight decrease of 0.1 points.
On the whole, respondents are expecting to be in a better financial position next year. Overall, 48 per cent of respondents believe that their personal financial position will be better next year.
By contrast, just 6 per ent of the region’s respondents believe that their financial position will become worse. In the UAE, 53 per cent of respondents believe that their personal finances will be better a year from now, compared to just 5 per cent that believe they will become worse.
Most optimistic that their personal financial position will be better in a year’s time are respondents in Oman and Saudi with 56 per cent confirming this statement.
In the UAE, 54 per cent of respondents believe that their country’s economy will be better in a year’s time, compared to just 11 per cent that believe it will be worse.
Another contributor to the CCI is the Employee Confidence Index (ECI), which measures the attitudes of respondents to the local job market, in terms of their satisfaction towards the availability of jobs and their satisfaction with their salary.
The UAE saw a rise of 2.7 index points in line with last quarter’s rise. Showing the biggest increase was once again Bahrain, which moved up the index by 12.6 points, said Zureikat.
When asked whether they believe more jobs will be available in a year’s time, respondents are roughly divided: 38 per cent say more will be available, 24 per cent say the job situation will remain the same and 19 per cent say the availability of jobs will be worse.
In the UAE, 40 per cent believe the availability of jobs will get better while 20 per cent of respondents believe the availability of jobs will become worse, the survey said.
Asked whether they would invest in property, the respondents largely agree that they will not. The trend continues from the previous quarter with a majority of respondents (62 per cent) stating they are not interested in making any investment in property.
Within the UAE, 66 per cent say they will not be buying any property. Of those wishing to purchase a property in the UAE, 65 per cent say they are likely to opt for a new property.
“Gauging consumer opinion is a powerful tool for revealing the current attitudes and sentiments about the business and economic conditions in a specific country and to see how these change overtime,” commented Sundip Chahal, chief operating officer of YouGov Siraj.
In terms of salaries and whether they have kept pace with the cost of living, as in the previous wave, majority feel otherwise with 59 per cent agreeing that there is a disparity, while just 16 per cent agree they have increased inline with the cost of living, and 5 per cent say they have increased more than the cost of living.
“We conduct the survey to chart how consumer confidence levels are changing as the region goes through different economic cycles, and faces the challenges and pressures wrought by economic trends and events across the globe,' Zureikat said.
'This seeks to provide all stakeholders, from regional businesses to local organisations and HR professionals with up-to-date information that is both relevant and reliable as a snapshot of current market trends, the expert added.
The data for the CCI was collected online between March 14 and April 3 with 8,079 respondents from the GCC countries besides Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan.-TradeArabia News Service