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Sat 23 May 2015 09:14 AM

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UAE consumers among world's most confident in Q1, says Nielsen

Latest Nielsen global survey shows UAE is top for Middle East consumer confidence, ahead of Saudi Arabia

UAE consumers among world's most confident in Q1, says Nielsen
MasterCard

Consumer confidence in the UAE was the highest among Middle East countries for the first quarter of 2015, according to the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.

At 115, the UAE had the highest index score in the region and the fourth highest globally, an increase of one point from the fourth quarter of 2014 and well above the global average of 97.

The survey also showed that confidence increased five points in Saudi Arabia to 107 while confidence remained steady in Egypt at 90.

Nielsen’s research showed that the number of UAE consumers who believe they are in a recession increased to 39 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared to 36 percent in the previous quarter and 33 percent a year earlier.

Sentiment about job prospects and immediate spending intentions declined five percent to 66 percent and one percent to 50 percent, respectively.

In the region, sentiment about job prospects edged up one percentage point to 44 percent, while personal finances sentiment and immediate spending intentions remained flat at 60 percent and 39 percent, respectively, from fourth-quarter 2014.

Job confidence improved most in Egypt, rising three percent to 43 percent, the survey also said.

Regionally, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending and saving intentions decreased or held steady for most lifestyle categories.

Spending intentions for home entertainment expenses, buying new clothes and taking holidays/vacations declined, while intentions for putting money into savings accounts increased and the percentages for investing and saving for retirement were flat from the previous quarter.

Globally, consumer confidence started 2015 with an index score of 97 — an increase of one point from Q4 2014.

India’s score of 130, the highest score among 60 markets, was followed by Indonesia (123), the Philippines (115) and the UAE (115).

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.

"While confidence across global regions remained relatively stable in the first quarter, there is considerable variation across different markets," said Louise Keely, senior vice president, Nielsen, and president, The Demand Institute.

"In the first quarter of this year, the key emerging markets of Brazil and Russia saw large declines in confidence for the second consecutive quarter, with the drop in oil prices and the political instability in Brazil. China dropped another index point at the start of this year, which comes after a four-point decline in the previous quarter, reflecting the recent slowdown in GDP there."

"In Europe, there are signs of improved consumer confidence in many countries, which reflects signs of growth in these markets," added Keely. "Lower oil prices have helped European consumers who are not in oil-producing countries, and labour markets are improving. On the other hand, the falling Euro against the dollar is good for export industries but not for consumers, who will pay more for imports."

Among the world's largest economies, consumer confidence increased most in Japan, rising nine points to 82 in the first quarter.

Confidence also increased one point in the US (107), three points in the UK (97) and three points in France (60). Conversely, confidence in China decreased one point to 106 from Q4 2014.

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