UAE. MasterCard today revealed the results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, which found that, with a score of 82.1, consumers in the UAE are very optimistic about the coming months.
The MasterCard Worldwide IndexTM of Consumer Confidence (“Index”) is based on a survey conducted between 5 December 2011 and 8 February 2012 on 12,915 respondents aged 18 to 64 years in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Now in its 20th year in Asia/Pacific and its 9th year in the Middle East and Africa, the Index is the region’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey.
The Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market over the next six months, based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.
Consumers in the UAE are optimistic in their attitudes towards all five indicators. Consumers are most optimistic about Quality of Life (89.3 vs. 93.6 in previous Index) and Regular Income (85.7 vs. 93.8). However, all indicators of consumer confidence were rated as being positive, including Economy (84.4 vs. 93.7), Employment (82.2 vs. 91.4) and the Stock Market (69.0 vs. 92.1).
The survey also highlighted that female respondents (83.2) tend to be more optimistic about their prospects for the coming months than their male counterparts (81.5) and that consumers under the age of 30 (82.3) are more optimistic than respondents over the age of 30 (82.0).
“We are pleased to see that the UAE has shown consistently strong consumer confidence scores for the last few years, as consumers in the market remain optimistic about all indicators measured. Led by the strong performance of the retail and hospitality sectors, in particular, the market sentiment in the UAE is becoming increasingly upbeat and this is encouraging news for the business community,” said Raghu Malhotra, division president, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.
In the Middle East, the consumer confidence score of 85.7 is not only an increase as compared to six months ago (82.8), but consumer confidence levels are at a record high since the Index was launched in the region in 2004.
Respondents indicated an increase in confidence levels for four of the five indicators as compared to six months ago, and were most optimistic about Regular Income (91.3 vs. 86.3). Consumers in the Middle East were also very optimistic about Quality of Life (87.6 vs. 81.5), Economy (86.5 vs. 82.5) and Employment (85.5 vs. 82.9). Despite witnessing a slight decrease in confidence levels, consumers remain very optimistic about the Stock Market (77.8 vs. 81.0). The Middle East’s aggregate score of 85.7 also remains substantially higher than that of Asia/ Pacific (52.1) and Africa (73.8).
MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence
Amongst other findings in the Middle East:
• Consumer confidence is highest in Qatar and Oman with scores of 93.6.
• Lebanon witnessed an extreme improvement in its consumer confidence score as compared to six months ago, increasing from 24.1 to 70.5.
• All markets surveyed across the Middle East reflected positive levels of consumer confidence, with scores of 70 or higher.
Consumer Confidence Results:
Respondents were asked 5 questions pertaining to their 6-month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in 5 component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the 5 component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.
About the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence
The MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 20-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region. In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low score of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.
The survey comprising the Asia/Pacific markets began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Markets from the Middle East and Africa were included in the Index from 2004. Twenty five markets now participate in the survey: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from 5 December 2011 to 8February 2012. A total of 12,915 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 25 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market.
The Index is calculated based with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. Five economic factors are measured: Employment, the Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The responses are consumers' thoughts on the six months ahead. Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four to five percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.