Dubai, January 26th 2014 – UAE consumer confidence ended 2014 with an index score of 114—an increase of two index points from the previous quarter and ranked the fourth-highest score of the 60 countries measured according to a new study by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. While confidence increased slightly from the previous quarter, year-over-year, the index score in the market remained stable.
“The consumer sentiment in the UAE remains steady and optimistic,” so Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen Arabian Peninsula. “There were small steps back in the second and third quarter reflecting some increased consumer apprehension but these doubts have been dispelled in the fourth quarter.”
Despite the fact that Consumer Confidence decreased one point in the Middle East/Africa (95), the region shows slow but stable progress. The index increased in three of five countries measured in the fourth quarter. At 114, the United Arab Emirates had – as mentioned before – the highest index in the region, an increase of two points from the third quarter. Confidence also increased five points in Egypt to 90 and two points in South Africa to 88. Conversely, confidence decreased three points in Saudi Arabia to 102 and two points in Pakistan to 101.
YEAR-OVER-YEAR PERFORMANCE IS POSITIVE
Progress is slow, but it is indeed taking place in more than half of global markets measured. In fact, Confidence scores in all AME markets improved year over year. One market reported double-digit confidence climbs, Egypt, which rose 14 points. The other increases from the previous year include UAE (+4), Pakistan (+4), South Africa (+2) and Saudi Arabia (+1).
More than two-third of UAE respondents (69%) believed the job market would be good or excellent in the next 12 months, up from 66% in fourth-quarter 2013. Likewise, immediate spending intentions rose to 51% (from 42%) but on the other hand perceptions of personal finances slightly decreased to 64% (from 65% the previous year).
RECESSIONARY SENTIMENT IMPROVED FOR MOST IN 2014
Only 36% of the UAE respondents believed they were in a recession in the fourth quarter, a one-percentage point increase from the previous quarter but an eight-point improvement from the previous year (Q4 2013).
UAE discretionary spending/saving intentions varied slightly in the fourth quarter. Half of them (50%) plan to save their spare cash. One-fourth of UAE respondents expect to spend on holiday/vacations (24%) and new clothes (23%). One-fifth plan to pay off debts (21%) and spend on out-of-home entertainment (21%). Fourteen percent of UAE respondents said they have no spare cash, which was one point up from the previous quarter.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL SURVEY
The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005. This Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Nov. 10-28, 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 and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country.
Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China.
The sub-Saharan African countries in this study are compiled from a separate mobile methodology survey among 1,600 respondents in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. These three countries were added to Nielsen’s measurement of consumer confidence in the first quarter of 2014 using a mobile survey methodology, which differs from the online methodology used to report consumer confidence and spending intentions for the other 60 countries outlined in this report. As such, the three sub-Saharan African markets are not included in the global or Middle East/Africa averages discussed throughout this report.
Nielsen 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.
Executive Director – Marketing & Communications MENAP