Consumer confidence up further

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) survey found that consumer confidence in the UAE increased by 5.8 points since last December (FILE)

Consumer confidence in the UAE remains to be trending upwards, following last quarter’s increase, according to the latest quarterly conducted by Bayt.com in conjunction with research specialists YouGov Siraj.

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) survey found that consumer confidence in the UAE increased by 5.8 points since last December.

Meanwhile, Qatar recorded the largest drop of 5 index points. Saudi 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. 

Respondents were asked questions about their personal financial circumstances and how they compare to the same period last year. Overall, 35 per cent of the region’s respondents say their financial position is the same as last year and a quarter, 25 per cent, say it has gotten better. 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 of respondents 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 recorded in the region.

“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 global 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,” commented Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com

In addition to financial position, consumer confidence is 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.

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 cent 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 Arabia with 56 per cent confirming this statement.

Respondents also remain largely optimistic that their country’s economy will be better in a year’s time. Overall, 51 per cent say that their country’s economy will be better, 17 per cent say it will remain the same, and 12 per cent say it will become worse. Respondents in Oman are the most positive about the expected improvements in their country’s economy, with 67 per cent stating things will be better. Respondents in Lebanon are most pessimistic about their country’s economy a year from now; 32 per cent say that it will become worse. 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.

Respondents were also asked what they feel their propensity to consume is, as part of the Propensity to Consume Index (PCI). UAE saw a relatively small drop of 3.7 points; the highest drop in the region was recorded by Qatar at 22.2 points. At the other end of the scale, Kuwait recorded the largest rise, moving up the index by 1.9 points.

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,” said Sundip Chahal, Chief Operating Officer of YouGov Siraj.

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 is once again Bahrain, which moved up the index by 12.6 points.

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.

In terms of salaries and whether they have kept pace with the cost of living, as in the previous wave, the majority feel that they have not kept pace with the cost of living, with 59 per cent agreeing that there is a disparity, while just 16 per cent agree they have increased in line with the cost of living, and 5 per cent say they have increased more than the cost of living.

 

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