The latest Bayt.com Middle East and North Africa Consumer Confidence Index survey, conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov, shows that while 43% of UAE respondents say that their savings have decreased in comparison to last year, the majority of residents have a positive outlook on the future of the country’s economy, as well as their own financial future.
Almost a third of UAE respondents believe the country’s economy has improved in the last six months, while 33% believe it has remained the same and 17% believe that it has receded. Additionally, a majority (59%) of respondents expect the economy to improve in the next half of the year, while one in five expect it to remain the same.
Encouragingly, the majority of employed UAE respondents (71%) believe business conditions will improve in their country in a year’s time. About half of the sample believe business conditions are either good or very good (48%), while 11% believe they are either bad or very bad.
Personal financial situation
33% of UAE respondents feel positive about their current personal financial situation, claiming their or their family’s current financial status is better now than it was six months ago, whilst 41% believe that it has remained the same and 19% believe it has worsened.
However, when it comes to savings, the majority of UAE respondents claim they haven’t been able to save as much in comparison to last year (43%), while 22% claim their savings have increased and 30% claim they have remained the same. When it comes to the cost of living, 76% of respondents expect it to increase, while 10% expect it to remain the same.
Despite diminishing savings and an expected rise in living costs, UAE respondents are optimisitic for the future with 59% believing their personal financial situation will improve in the next six months, while 22% believe that it will remain the same.
Considering the spending priorities of consumers over the next 12 months, 43% of those surveyed in the UAE claim they are planning to invest in a motor vehicle. Of those, 43% plan to purchase a new vehicle, while 34% plan to opt for a used one.
When it comes to investing in property, 29% of UAE respondents plan to invest in the next 12 months, however, more than half have no plans to invest. Of those who are planning to buy property, 45% will invest in an apartment, while 29% plan to buy a villa/townhouse/bungalow and 24% will purchase commercial property. The majority (54%) of respondents who are planning to invest in the UAE property market plan to buy new property in the next 12 months, while 19% will invest in pre-owned property.
Regarding consumer goods, 28% of UAE residents plan to purchase a tablet or smartphone in the next six months, while 27% will invest in a desktop or laptop. More than one in 5 respondents from the UAE are planning to buy furniture over the same time period. An LCD or Plasma television (14%), air conditioner (11%), washing machine (11%) and refrigerator (11%), are also among respondents’ list of spending priorities.
Current job perspective
Currently, half of respondents surveyed believe there are plenty of jobs available in the UAE; with 29% claiming availability across multiple industries and 21% claiming availability across a limited number of industries. 34% believe that there few jobs available in the UAE. However the future looks bright with 46% of UAE respondents expecting job availability to increase in the next six months.
With regards to satisfaction levels, a little over half of employed UAE respondents (51%) are satisfied with career growth opportunities. 38% are satisfied with their current compensation while 39% are dissatisfied with their current salary and allowances. When it comes to non-monetary benefits 48% of employed UAE respondents are satisfied, while 32% feel the opposite. 47% of employed respondents in the UAE feel secure in their jobs.
“When looking at the region in its entirety, the outlook is a positive one,” said Suhail Al-Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com. “When it comes to jobs, the outlook is positive as well. Now is a good time for professionals to focus on job search strategies, and brand themselves online. A great way to do this is through our Bayt.com Public Profile, where jobseekers can create a profile solely for themselves and increase their visibility on popular search engines. At Bayt.com, we always endeavour to empower the region’s job seekers and employers by providing them with the latest technology and vital statistics relating to recruitment.”
Elissavet Vraka, Research Manager, YouGov, said: “Gauging consumer opinion is a powerful tool for revealing the current attitudes and sentiments about the business and economic conditions in a specific country. With the majority of people anticipating an increase in living costs and having experienced a decrease in savings, it may be time to take an evaluative look at the stability of personal financial situations.”
Data for the Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey was collected online from July 27 to August 2 2015, with 8,882 respondents from the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Males and females of all nationalities aged over 18 years were included in the survey.