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Mena consumer confidence picking up

Dubai, November 4, 2012

Consumer confidence seemed slowly picking up in the Mena region with a majority of them saying the current situation across has slightly improved compared to last year, according to a survey.

In the UAE as well as around Mena region, majority of them were optimistic for the year to come, said the latest "Middle East and North Africa Consumer Confidence Index Survey," conducted by leading jobsite Bayt.com and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation.

The survey however cautioned that sentiment across the region with regard to the current situation was generally negative.

"Only 26 per cent of respondents claim that their personal financial situations have improved in the past 12 months, while 32 per cent state that things have become worse," the survey added.

Along the same lines, 34 per cent believe that their country’s economy has declined within the same time period, which leads to this being considered to be a ‘bad time to buy’ consumer durables, according to four out of ten (43 per cent), it stated.

Similarly, a third of respondents (34 per cent) believe that business conditions are bad, and, linked to this, employment conditions are poor, with half of those responding (49 per cent) saying there are ‘very few jobs available’.

The majority of employees (32 per cent) state that they now have fewer colleagues than they did last year, and, compared to the same time 12 months ago, salary has not kept pace with the cost of living for 69 per cent respondents, it added.

The survey pointed out that the respondents were generally dissatisfied with their working life. The majority (40 per cent) believed that their current job, career prospects and opportunities for growth were low, while 50 per cent were unhappy with their current compensation, and 68 per cent said their job security was neutral to low.

Interestingly, the employees have a neutral outlook for the future of their organisation. About 35 per cent do not believe there will be any change in the number of employees in their current company, and 37 per cent believe there will be no difference in keeping up with staffing requirements.

“The present sentiment across the region seems to be somewhat conservative. However, our respondents demonstrated positive sentiment for the future. This level of optimism demonstrates that the lingering effects of the recent economic slump are nearly gone, as people look forward to a financially better 2012,” remarked Suhail Masri, the vice president of sales, Bayt.com.

According to the survey, respondents believed 2013 will be a better year all round. Personal financial situations are expected to improve (as stated by 49 per cent); business conditions will get better (according to 50 per cent), and there will be more jobs available as a result (according to 34 per cent).

While 44 per cent across the Mena region believe that their country’s economy will improve, 22 per cent believe the opposite to be true.

Despite this hope, there is still negative sentiment; 39 per cent state that inflation and the cost of living will increase, and a further 36 per cent believe that the cost of real estate will go up.

In the next 12 months, only 27 per cent of respondents will consider purchasing a new vehicle, of which 51 per cent will buy new. Within the same time frame, 20 per cent will consider purchasing property; of these, 65 per cent will also be looking to buy new, the survey stated.

The three most popular consumer purchases for the next six months will be desktop or laptop computers (25 per cent); furniture (19 per cent) and LCD or plasma televisions (17 per cent).

“It is evident that events taking place in some of the Mena countries are clearly having a repercussion on the region as a whole. People expect things to stabilize in the coming year and hence have a positive outlook,” remarked SundipChahal, CEO, YouGov.

In the UAE, sentiments are along the same lines as those felt elsewhere in the Mena region. Four out of ten (39 per cent) respondents say that their current financial situation hasn’t changed in the past year, and 34 per cent state that the UAE’s economy is no different.

Contrary to elsewhere in the region however, 32 per cent state that the local economy has improved. Almost half of the respondents (49 per cent) claim that this is a neutral time to buy, while 43 per cent state that business conditions are also neutral.
In terms of employment conditions, 74 per cent claim that there are currently ‘not many’ or ‘very few’ jobs available.

The majority of respondents (35 per cent) state that there are now fewer employees in their current company, and 66 per cent claim that their salary did not keep pace with the cost of living in the UAE, the survey added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: UAE | Mena | Salary | Spending | Consumer confidence |

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