Consumers in Oman are extremely optimistic about the coming months. In fact, at 93.6, Oman has the Middle East's highest consumer confidence score -” a position it shares with Qatar, which holds an identical score, according to the results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence.
The MasterCard Worldwide IndexTM of Consumer Confidence (Index) is based on a survey conducted between December 5, 2011 and February 8, 2012 on 12,915 respondents aged 18 to 64 years in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
Now in its 20th year in Asia/Pacific and its 9th year in the Middle East and Africa, the Index is the region's most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey.
The Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market over the next six months, based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life.
The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. Consumers in Oman are optimistic in their attitudes towards all five indicators. Consumers are most optimistic about Quality of Life (98.2 vs. 97.7 in previous Index) and Economy (97.9 vs. 99.4). However, all indicators of consumer confidence were rated as being optimistic, including Employment (96.5 vs. 100), Regular Income (94.5 vs. 99.3) and the Stock Market (80.6 vs. 97.6).
The survey also highlighted that female respondents (96.1) tend to be more optimistic about their prospects for the coming months than their male counterparts (91.2) and that consumers over the age of 30 (95.5) are also more optimistic than younger respondents (92.1).
"This is the second time that Oman has been included in the Index, and we are pleased to see that consumers remain extremely optimistic in their expectations for the coming months.
The positive sentiment is in line with Oman's robust economic performance and growing GDP per capita in recent years,- said Raghu Malhotra, division president, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.
In the Middle East, the consumer confidence score of 85.7 is not only an increase as compared to six months ago (82.8), but consumer confidence levels are at a record high since the Index was launched in the region in 2004.
Respondents indicated an increase in confidence levels for four of the five indicators as compared to six months ago, and were most optimistic about Regular Income (91.3 vs. 86.3).
Consumers in the Middle East were also very optimistic about Quality of Life (87.6 vs. 81.5), Economy (86.5 vs. 82.5) and Employment (85.5 vs. 82.9). Despite witnessing a slight decrease in confidence levels, consumers remain very optimistic about the Stock Market (77.8 vs. 81.0). The Middle East's aggregate score of 85.7 also remains substantially higher than that of Asia/ Pacific (52.1) and Africa (73.8).