UAE consumers upbeat about economic outlook . . .

A recent global survey of Consumer Confidence & Spending Intentions was undertaken by a leading performance management company Nielsen .   It shows that global consumer confidence remained stable in the first quarter however below the baseline score of 100, edging up one index point to 98 from last year’s 97.

The Nielsen consumer confidence index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions.

For purposes of this latest report, it surveyed through the polling of more than 30,000 online consumers in 63 countries, and showed that Global Consumer Confidence remained unabated by the downturn of the current global economy.

So much so that, in the world’s largest economy, the US consumer confidence score of 110 remained at or above the optimism baseline for nine consecutive quarters.

In Europe, confidence declined four points in the UK (97) and one point in Germany (97) from the previous quarter, as the outlook for jobs in the next 12 months worsened in both countries.  In France however, confidence declined 10 points to 64, and in Italy, two points to 59.

India remained the most bullish country in the world for the fourth consecutive quarter, with an index score of 134. India scored 134 was followed by consumers in the Philippines with 119 and Indonesia with 117.   Vietnam with 109 is another success story amongst emerging markets in the region, as consistently high consumer confidence scores continued to edge up by two and one percentage, respectively, in the first quarter.

In China, that which in 1966, its Communist leader at the time, Mao Zedong launched what became known as the Cultural Revolution.  The declared objective was to reassert his (Mao’s) authority over the Chinese leadership that started to lean towards too much consumerism as it was considered reactionary and anti-revolutionary.   Things have moved on since then and despite all that, today consumer confidence edged down two points to 105.  Confidence also declined 11 points in Hong Kong (88) and six points in Japan (73).

In Brazil, consumer confidence declined two points in the first quarter to the country’s lowest score (74) in Nielsen’s 11-year consumer-confidence history.   Confidence also fell sharply in Argentina (75) and Colombia (83), declining 13 points and 11 points, respectively, from the previous quarter.

Confidence also declined seven points in South Africa to 75 – a new low for the country in Nielsen’s 11-year consumer-confidence history.

In the MENA region, the optimism level in Saudi Arabia declined two points to match that of the UAE’s score.   According to the Nielsen report, a positive perception of their finances helped UAE resident consumers remain amongst the most optimistic in the world with an above-the-baseline score of 104 that compares favourably with a global average of 98 points.

It notably shows that consumer confidence in the GCC and more specifically in the UAE, “an optimistic, above-the-baseline score of 104” was prevalent in the first three months of 2016.   This figure was however, four points below that of the preceding quarter.  This drop was immediately attributed to the decline in oil prices and the ensuing atmosphere that is taking a toll on consumer sentiments in the UAE.

The survey showed however that the country’s consumer confidence score, is nevertheless amongst the top ten globally and that the UAE’s residents are still upbeat about its economic outlook.  Interestingly, confidence in neighbouring Saudi Arabia reported a consumer confidence decline of two points, bringing it level with the UAE score.

In the meantime, Dubai set to build the largest Expo site ever at Jebel Ali Dubai World Central (DWC) as hosting the Dubai Expo in 2020, is plodding on towards the date of that mega event.   Construction of buildings and infrastructure are on-going.  Read more on all related activities at