Middle East/Africa: Slow But Stable Progress
Consumer confidence increased in three of five countries measured in the Middle East/Africa region in the fourth quarter. At 114, United Arab Emirates had the highest index in the region, an increase of two points from the third quarter. Confidence also increased five points in Egypt to 90 and two points in South Africa to 88. Conversely, confidence decreased three points in Saudi Arabia to 102 and two points in Pakistan to 101.
“Egypt’s consumer confidence score has been climbing for the last two quarters, and we see a direct correlation to the country’s economic growth during that same period,” said Tamer El Araby, managing director for Egypt, Levant and North Africa. “As Egypt approaches the confidence baseline score of 100, the next challenge will be to improve how people perceive their personal finances. This could lead to a point when Egyptian consumers no longer focus on immediate living requirements, but rather look forward to potential future growth.”
Regionally, quarter-on-quarter discretionary spending intentions in the fourth quarter increased four percentage points each for new clothes (27%) and out-of-home entertainment (23%), two percentage points each for paying off debts (20%) and home improvements (17%) and one percentage point for retirement (6%). Twenty-two percent of Middle East/Africa respondents said they have no spare cash, which was flat from the previous quarter and the highest percentage of any region.