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Consumer Confidence Rebounded in Middle East/Africa Region in Q2
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Consumer Confidence Rebounded in Middle East/Africa Region in Q2

Consumer confidence increased in four of six Middle East/Africa markets, boosting the regional average by six index points in the second quarter, which came after an 11-point regional index decline in the first quarter, according to findings from the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. Pakistan (98) reported the biggest three-month increase of 11 index points, followed by a rise of four points in Saudi Arabia (100), and a rise of three points in both Egypt (77) and South Africa (81). Sentiment declined in the United Arab Emirates (107) and Israel (83), where confidence declined one and eight points, respectively.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents with Internet access in 58 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

“Pakistan’s consumer confidence increase was a rebound from a six-point decline reported in the first quarter amid tumultuous extremist activity that ensued during that time,” said Mustafa Moosajee, managing director, Nielsen Pakistan. “Yet, the resilience of the Pakistani people, and the capabilities of its large and growing urban middle class, is reflected in the steady increase over the previous five quarters and in the latest quarter, which was boosted by a sense of excitement among Pakistanis who participated in landmark national and provincial elections. The historical significance of their vote represented the country’s first transition between an elected government fulfilling its term, to another, in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.”

Saudi Arabia’s consumer confidence increase of four points came after a 12-point index decline in the first quarter. “One major development that affected consumer confidence during Q1 was a new law that made it illegal for expat workers to work for any person/business/institution other than their own sponsors,” said Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen Saudi Arabia. “However, at the start of April, a three-month grace period was granted, which eased the overall situation a bit in the second quarter. A looming deadline could negatively affect the economy, as it is expected that inflation will increase and service levels will go down.”

“The eight-point consumer confidence decline in Israel is not surprising,” said Sagit Attar, client service director, Nielsen Israel. “Since the summer of 2011, the high cost of living in the country has resulted in a new normal, which has strengthened the discounter retail channel.”

While consumer confidence increased across most of the region and the amount of consumers saying they had no spare cash decreased 4 percentage points to 22 percent, respondents largely did not change their discretionary spending intentions from three months ago, with the exception of two categories. Plans to spend on out-of-home entertainment expenses (21%) increased 4 percentage points from Q1 2013, and intentions to take a holiday/vacation (18%) increased 5 percentage points.

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Other findings include:

  • Global consumer confidence increased one index point to 94 in Q2.
  • The recessionary sentiment in North America dropped to its lowest level since the Great Recession.
  • European respondents remained stuck in a spending holding pattern.
  • Quarterly confidence rose in all regions except Latin America.
  • Discretionary spending intentions improved in Asia-Pacific.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q2 2013 Global Consumer Confidence Report.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted between May 13-31, 2013, and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 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 their Internet users, and 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 10 million online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China.