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It’s not looking good: 2012 MENA Consumer confidence

It’s not looking good: 2012 MENA Consumer confidence

Only 25 percent think their country’s economy is getting better while about the same volume think their personal finance will get worse, according to a recently Consumer Confidence Index.

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March 4, 2012 1:11 by



Despite a “comparatively high” rate of optimisim for the year agead, overall sentiment in the region is currently “less than positive” in the MENA region, according a recent Consumer Confidence Index from job site Bayt.com and research firm YouGov.

SOBERING SENTIMENTS
Only 26 percent of the respondents believed that their personal financial situation is better now than it was this time last year, and only 25 percent feel optimistic about the current economy of their country.

In addition, this is not considered to be a good time for business (according to 37 percent), with 43 percent stating that now is a ‘bad time’ to buy consumer durables.

In terms of employment, almost half of respondents (49 percent) claim that there are ‘very few jobs’ available, yet of those who are currently employed, 26 percent state that their company has more employees than at the same time last year. At 66 percent, the majority believe that their salaries have not kept pace with the cost of living.

HOPEFUL FUTURE
There is definitely hope for a more positive future however, as 52 percent across the region believe that their personal finances will become better in a year’s time, and all countries expect that business conditions will improve.

Inflation continues to generate a negative outlook across the board, however, with the cost of real estate being badly looked upon in all countries. Only 23 percent of respondents are optimistic about the future growth of their companies in terms of employees, with all countries sharing a neutral opinion about their companies being able to keep up with staffing demands.

NO MONEY, NO HONEY
In general, there is little interest in purchasing a vehicle or property, however those who are planning or considering a large purchase will buy new. There is more interest in purchasing laptops and desktop computers than in any other major purchases, followed by furniture.

“The appraisal of the current situation is subdued across the board, in terms of economy, commerce and employment. This sentiment is echoed in most countries, however there is a considerably more positive outlook for the near future as people look forward to improved conditions all around,” said Suhail Masri, VP Sales at Bayt.com. “Bayt.com provides more than just an online portal for job-seeking convenience; we deliver substantial data regarding the region’s most important issues, giving employers and job-seekers alike an appraisal of the current situation and future expectations.”

“Given the current climate in the Middle East and, to an extent, globally, it is to be expected that sentiments for the present are low and that there is hope for a more positive future. The MENA region presents a mostly unified front in terms of opinions and aspirations, with an especially positive outlook for future financial and commercial conditions,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO at YouGov.

THE UAE IN FOCUS
UAE respondents mostly feel that there is no change in their personal financial situation, when compared to the same time last year; 43 percent believe their situation is the same, 28 percent believe that their situation is worse, and only 24 percent state that things are better. A similar balance is true with regards to the opinion of the country’s economy –34 percent believe that it is the same as last year, 29 percent believe that it is worse, and 27 percent believe that it has improved.

Sentiment is somewhat dispassionate in terms of business; 41 percent believe that this is a ‘neutral time’ for business conditions (only 19 percent state that this is a ‘good time’), while 45 percent believe that this is a ‘neutral time to buy’ goods and only 18 percent think it is a good time to do so.

Employment conditions are not considered to be too favourable, with 43 percent claiming that there are very few jobs available; 35 percent of respondents say that their company has less employees now than it did this time last year (28 percent claim that they now have more colleagues). Salaries are considered not to have kept up with the cost of living, according to a massive 70 percent.

As ever, there is considerable optimism for the future in the UAE, with 46 percent stating their belief that their personal financial situation will be better in a year’s time, while 45 percent hold hope that the country’s economy will also have improved. Business and employment conditions are expected to become more favourable by 46 percent and 31 percent of respondents, respectively.

Despite this, only 23 percent are optimistic that their companies will grow in terms of number of employees, with 40 percent remaining neutral with regards to meeting staffing requirements. Satisfaction with career prospects, growth and job security remains neutral to negative; only 15 percent favour their prospects in the coming year, only 18 percent believe there will be the opportunity for career growth, and only 22 percent are confident in the security of their job. A 47 percent majority are dissatisfied with their current compensation.

Inflation will continue to have a negative impact upon the cost of living according to 36 percent, and the cost of property for rental or purchase is still creating a feeling of negativity according to 30 percent of respondents.

Only 25 percent of respondents are considering buying a vehicle in the coming year, with just 17 percent looking to buy property. Of these, the majority will buy new. The most desirable major purchase is a laptop or desktop computer, followed by furniture.

Data for the quarterly Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey – March 2012 was collected online from January 30 – February 14 2012, with 9,324 respondents aged over 18 years, covering GCC Arab, North African, Levant, Western Expatriate and Asian nationalities. Countries who participated are UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan.



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