UAE leading the way in consumer confidence, KSA sees a dip

RetailME Bureau

Nielsen recently released its consumer confidence findings with the UAE leading the way for Middle East/Africa consumer confidence with an index of 108, a rise of one point from third quarter of 2015. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia saw a decline of three points touching a score of 106 in comparison to the third quarter of 2015.

Egypt (77) also reported a drop of thirteen points compared to the third quarter of last year. Overall confidence declined over the previous quarter in the overall Middle East/Africa region (90), decreasing six points.

“Continuous southward dive of oil prices, coupled with government’s recent decision of reducing the subsidies on utilities has adversely impacted the consumer confidence in the Kingdom,” feels Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen Arabian Peninsula. “Perception that the country is in a state of recession saw an increase of five points to reach 58% in the last quarter.”

Despite this recent drop, KSA’s consumer confidence is ninth among the 60 countries polled in the survey.

Job prospect & personal finance outlook

While perceptions about the state of personal finances amongst UAE respondents was positively impacted going up three points reaching 63%, in KSA it remained consistent from the third quarter of 2015. Saudi respondents felt less confident about making investments in the next 12 months, with 48% stating that it would not be a good time to make purchases, a four point increase from the third quarter.

Amongst the UAE respondents, only 58% are optimistic about the state of job prospects, a seven point decline from the third quarter. Meanwhile, the notion making investments and purchases in the recent future (12 months) saw a slight increase in optimism, going up to two points to reach 45%.

Recessionary sentiment receded in the Middle East/Africa region, where the percentage of respondents who believed they were in recession increased from 60% in the third quarter 2015 to 70%. Among UAE and KSA respondents, 53% believed they were in a recession, a five and 10 point increase, respectively, from the previous quarter.


A global view

Global consumer confidence ended 2015 on a subdued note as the index declined two points from the third quarter to 97 – the same score as the start of the year.

Compared to first quarter of 2015, confidence in the fourth quarter remained flat in Asia-Pacific at 107, while Europe edged up four points to 81. All other regions ended the year less confident compared with the start, with the North America and Middle East/Africa regions declining six points each to 100 and 90, respectively, and Latin America declining three points to 83.

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.