DUBAI – UAE consumer confidence rose to its highest level since Q3 2012 with an index of 114 in the first quarter of 2014, according to consumer confidence findings from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. The UAE index — which recorded its lowest score of 89 in the first six months of 2009 — represents a four-point increase from Q4 2013 and a six-point increase from a year ago (Q1 2013).
“UAE represents a safe haven with respect to political turmoil in this region. As a result of this status, UAE is emerging as the destination of choice for investors as well as tourists in Middle East and Africa. This is generating more job opportunities and avenues for growth which boosts the UAE consumer confidence,” said Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen Arabian Peninsula.
In Middle East / Africa region, Saudi Arabia (102) reported next to UAE the highest consumer confidence score in the region after UAE, increasing one index point, compared to fourth-quarter 2013. Confidence in Egypt increased most regionally, increasing 11 points in the first quarter to an index of 87. Pakistan increased two index points to 99, and South Africa posted the only regional confidence decline of four index points to 82.
Regional consumer confidence was highest in Asia-Pacific with an index of 106, a one-point increase from the previous quarter (Q4 2013) and a three-point increase from a year ago (Q1 2013). North America posted the largest quarterly increase of five index points to reach the optimism baseline of 100—the highest level since 2007. The Middle East / Africa region increased four index points to 94, and Europe increased two index points to 75, compared to Q4 2013. Latin America reported the only quarterly regional consumer confidence decline of one index point to 93.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. In the latest round of the survey, conducted February 17 – March 7, 2014, consumer confidence increased in 60 percent of markets measured by Nielsen—up from 43 percent the previous quarter (Q4 2013).
UAE Job Outlook Improves
In UAE, 71 percent of respondents believed the job market would be good or excellent in the upcoming year – the biggest quarterly increase in job optimism of the region, increasing 5 percentage points. In the Middle East/Africa region overall, however, positive perceptions about job prospects rose slightly: up 1 percentage point in the first quarter to 40 percent.
More than half (56%) of Middle East / Africa respondents regarded their personal finances positively, a level that has increased in the last quarter. In UAE, respondents were most secure in money matters, with 65 percent, believing the state of their finances was good or excellent.
Recessionary Sentiment Lingers
Almost three quarters of Middle East / Africa respondents (73%) said they felt the effects of recession in the first quarter, but the sentiment was an improvement compared with the previous quarter (75%). On a country level, recessionary sentiment improved most in UAE, down 11 percentage points to 33 percent.
About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Feb. 17 – March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60-percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
 While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.