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How the Middle East and Africa consumers signed off the year 2014

Consumer confidence in the Middle East/Africa region revved up in the third quarter, increasing in all five countries measured by Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. With an index score of 112, the United Arab Emirates had the highest confidence in the region, after an increase of three points from the second quarter. Confidence also increased three points in Saudi Arabia to 105, four points in Pakistan to 103, four points in Egypt to 85 and one point in South Africa to 86.

“Consumers in the United Arab Emirates continue to be bullish about future economic prospects,” said Arslan Ashraf, managing director, Nielsen. “Despite the fact that rising rents are driving inflation north and consumers are mitigating risk via savings, they are still upbeat about future job prospects.”

“In Saudi Arabia, consumer confidence is steadily heading toward a score of 112, which was last reached in 2012 before a drive to legalize the expat workforce,” said Ashraf. “The economy is gradually recovering from the challenges posed by the legalization drive for most of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. However, while confidence is expected to be bullish in the coming days, declining oil prices might pose risks.”

Regionally, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending intentions increased 3 percentage points in the third quarter for plans to save (39%) and 1 percentage point each for investing (10%) and spending on holidays/vacations (18%). A slight pullback of 1 percentage point each was reported for spending on out-of-home entertainment (19%) and new technology products (18%). Twenty-two percent of Middle East/Africa respondents said they had no spare cash, a decline of 3 percentage points from the second quarter and the highest percentage of any region.

Key findings of a report by Nielsen:

Global Consumer Confidence improves to 98 index points.

Consumers’ top concerns for the next six months and their discretionary spending intentions.

Regional consumer attitudes and confidence scores around the world.

  

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