Tops APMEA Countries Surveyed

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Kuwait City, Kuwait MasterCard has revealed the results of the latest MasterCard IndexTM of Consumer Confidence, which indicates that consumer sentiment in Kuwait is the highest in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region at 96.8.

Consumers in Kuwait are ‘extremely optimistic’ about all five indicators measured in the Index. When compared to the previous edition of the survey released six months ago, consumers are more optimistic about Employment (98.1 vs. 93.9), the Economy (97.5 vs. 95.7), Quality of Life (96.7 vs. 96.6) and the Stock Market (95.1 vs. 93.8). Consumers also remain very optimistic about Regular Income (96.6 vs. 98.8), despite a slight decrease in its score when compared to the previous edition of the Index.   

The latest findings indicate that female respondents are more optimistic than male respondents about the coming months (97.9 vs. 95.9), and that consumers over the age of 30 years (97.0) are more optimistic than younger respondents (96.3).

“Kuwait has historically had some of the highest consumer confidence scores in the Middle East, and we are delighted to announce that the market is now not only leading the Arab world, but has the highest score of any of the 27 countries surveyed in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Respondents are most optimistic about employment prospects and the economy, highlighting residents’ confidence in the financial sector,” said Pankaj Kathuria, area head, Southern Gulf, MasterCard.

Across the Middle East, the consumer confidence level remains very optimistic with positive scores for all five indicators, despite slight declines when compared to the previous edition of the Index released six months ago. Consumers are most optimistic about Regular Income (81.2 vs. 85.1), Employment (79.9 vs. 80.8), Economy (79.3 vs. 80.0), Quality of Life (76.7 vs. 79.9) and Stock Market (75.2 vs. 79.9). The Middle East’s aggregate score of 78.5 remains higher than that of Asia/Pacific (63.3) and Africa (78.1), as was the case in the previous survey. 

In the Middle East, Kuwait (96.8) overtakes Qatar (96.4) as the market with the highest level of consumer confidence, followed by the UAE (94.7), Saudi Arabia (93.3), Oman (87.1), Egypt (54.1) and Lebanon (26.9).

The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (“Index”) is based on a survey conducted between April 2013 and May 2013 on 12,205 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 27 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. This is the 41st survey of Consumer Confidence conducted since 1993.

The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance

Middle East Consumer Confidence Results:

MARKETS

2H 2013

1H 2013

2H 2012

1H 2012

2H 2011

1H 2011

2H 2010

1H 2010

Egypt

54.1

66.6

90.7

88.3

75.4

47.7

45.5

59.5

Kuwait

96.8

95.8

84.7

88.3

90.6

80.4

96.9

70.9

Lebanon

26.9

26.8

44.3

70.5

24.1

54.3

44.6

55.4

Oman

87.1

95.6

91.5

93.6

98.8

Qatar

96.4

96.5

96.6

93.6

99.7

83.6

65.8

89.2

Saudi Arabia

93.3

95.2

90.9

83.9

98.4

95.1

85.0

83.2

U.A.E.

94.7

91.4

86.0

82.1

92.9

73.6

82.4

86.1

Total Middle East

78.5

81.1

83.5

85.7

82.8

72.4

70.1

74.1

Source: MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence

Methodology:
Respondents were asked five questions pertaining to their six month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in five component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the five component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.

About the MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence:
The MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 20-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region.  In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low score of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.

The survey comprising the Asia/Pacific markets began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Markets from the Middle East and Africa were included in the Index from 2004. Twenty seven markets now participate in the survey: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from April to May 2013. A total of 12,205 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 27 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market.  

The Index is calculated based with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.  Five economic factors are measured: Employment, the Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The responses are consumers’ thoughts on the six months ahead. Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary.  The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four to five percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement, MasterCard Survey on Online Shopping, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard:
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, @MasterCardMEA join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.

Contact:
Sami LahoudVice President Communications; Middle East and Africa
+971 56 216 9273
sami_lahoud@mastercard.com