The latest Middle East and North Africa Consumer Confidence Index Survey, conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov, shows that expectations for the year to come are high across the Mena region.
In the UAE, respondents forecast a better financial climate and economy, with improved business conditions and more jobs available.
Across the Mena region in general, the feelings for respondents’ personal situations at the present time are neutral.
Only 28 per cent claim that their financial situation is better than last year, compared to 65 per cent who state that it has either remained the same or declined.
National economies are considered to be worse than last year, according to 33 per cent of respondents. Consumer behaviour (41 per cent of respondents say that now is a “bad time to buy”) is likely impacting business conditions which are neutral to bad, as stated by 65 per cent.
In terms of employment, almost half of the respondents (49 per cent) claim that there are “very few jobs available”. Six out of ten say that their company has either the same or fewer employees than this time 12 months ago, and two-thirds (65 per cent) believe that their salaries have not kept pace with the cost of living. However, respondents appear to be optimistic for the upcoming year. The majority believe that their personal financial situation (51 per cent), country’s economy (44 per cent), business conditions (49 per cent) and employment conditions (35 per cent) will improve. “Retaining a positive outlook for the year to come will be pivotal to the region’s success.
Conditions may not be considered to be entirely favourable at the present time, but there are plenty of signs that the months to come will prove beneficial for all,” said Suhail Masri, vice-president of sales at Bayt.com.
“Bayt.com gathers vital information from pertinent cross-sections of MENA society, to provide in-depth insights into the feelings, behaviour and trends happening in recruitment and business around the region.”
Satisfaction with career prospects in the region at present is low, according to 39 per cent of respondents, while 38 per cent state that it is “neutral”. Three quarters of respondents (74 per cent) also claim that prospect for career growth in their current organisation is neutral to low.
Job security is seen to be an issue by 67 per cent, with only one in four (27 per cent) claiming their job security is ‘high’, and satisfaction with compensation is neutral to low, according to 84 per cent. With regards to employment, 24 per cent of companies expect to increase employees in the coming three months.
A further 61 per cent are either neutral or pessimistic about growth potential vis-a-vis the number of employees in their organisation.
The sentiment towards keeping up with staffing requirements is neutral, according to four out of ten respondents (37 per cent), however, 19 per cent cite optimism.
The outlook for inflation is negative, with 38 per cent believing there will be a rise in the cost of living. Similarly, 36 per cent believe the cost of real estate is still creating a feeling of negativity across the region. In the next 12 months 29 per cent of respondents are planning to purchase a vehicle. Of these, 51 per cent will buy new. Moreover, One in five (21 per cent) are considering investing in property, with 65 per cent of them planning to buy new.
The five most popular consumer purchases in the next six months will be desktop or laptop computers (25 per cent); furniture (20 per cent); LCD or plasma television (18 per cent); air conditioners (16 per cent) and digital cameras (13 per cent).
“Consumer habits have remained somewhat stable in the past year, with the same five product categories continually topping the list. Computers are always a favourite purchase across the board, and technology in general seems to consistently be the best-selling consumer goods category,” said Sundip Chahal, CEO of YouGov.