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UAE Consumer Confidence At 108: Highest Level In Middle East / Africa But Declined Seven Points From The First Quarter

Middle East / Africa confidence declined two points to 94,
as spending and personal finance sentiment dropped.

Dubai / UAE, July 28 2015 – UAE Consumer Confidence declined seven index points in the second quarter to a score of 108, according to the latest Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence Index Report. The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries. The global survey was fielded May 11-29, 2015.

In UAE, sentiment for the three economic indicators decreased, as future job prospects declined four percentage points to 62%, personal finances sentiment decreased three percentage points to 64%, and immediate spending intentions declined 3 percentage points to 47%. 41% of UAE respondents believe they are in recession, as the sentiment increased two percentage points from the first quarter.

Most UAE respondents are in a saving – rather than a spending – mindset as more than two-thirds (70%) say they are actively taking action to save on household expensed compared to a year ago. Among those who say they are taking actions to save, the top two areas earmarked for reduction are spending on clothing (50%) and spending less on take-out meals (46%).

The fear of losing a job (26%) is top concern in UAE. Furthermore, parent’s welfare and happiness (11%) is also a key issue as well as worries about the state of the economy and a balanced work / life style (both 9%).

“In the United Arab Emirates, job security concerns are amplifying as lower oil prices can fuel expectations of government spending cuts,” said Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen Arabian Peninsula. “Additionally, two key sectors of the economy—real estate and tourism—are showing signs of softening. As such, consumers are saving more and spending less, intending to pull back spending on new clothes, out-of-home entertainment and home improvements expenses.”

CONFIDENCE DECLINES IN SAUDI ARABIA AND EGYPT AS WELL

Consumer confidence decreased in three of five countries measured in the Middle East/Africa region and held steady in two in the second quarter. At 108, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had has mentioned before the highest index in the region, but it decreased seven points from the first quarter—the biggest quarterly decline in six years. Confidence declined five points in Egypt to 85 and two points in Saudi Arabia to 105. Confidence levels in Pakistan (102) and South Africa (87) were unchanged from the first quarter.

Regionally, while sentiment about job prospects edged up one percentage point to 45%, personal finances sentiment declined two percentage points to 58%, and immediate spending intentions declined three percentage points to 36% from the first quarter. Recessionary sentiment increased in four of five Middle East/Africa markets: Egypt and South Africa each increased three percentage points to 82% and 73%, respectively, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – as mentioned before – increased two percentage point to 45% and 41%, respectively.

Regionally, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending and saving intentions changed marginally across most lifestyle categories. Intentions to save declined two percentage points to 37%, but plans to invest increased two percentage points to 12%. Paying debts was the priority for 22% of respondents, an increase of three percentage points, and spending on new clothes (27%) and holidays/vacations (19%) increased one percentage point each from the first quarter.   

ABOUT THE GLOBAL SURVEY OF CONSUMER CONFIDENCE AND SPENDING INTENTIONS

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted May11-29, 2015 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. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance.  Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

CONTACT

Silke Trost, +971 55 4986257, silke.trost@nielsen.com