Middle East’s number one job site Bayt.com
40.9% of Middle East professionals save nothing from their household income, with the biggest non-housing expenditure on food (40.8%), according to the latest online poll series conducted by the Middle East’s number one job site Bayt.com.
The results of the ‘Bayt.com MENA Saving and Spending Trends’ poll showed that only 18.3% of Middle East professionals manage to save between 1-10% of their household income. This comes in line with the latest Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey, in which the overwhelming majority of Middle Eastern professionals claimed that their salary increase was not keeping up with the cost of living.
Poll results also revealed that 32.3% of Middle East professionals spend 21-40% of their income on rent or mortgage with 34.7% spending even more than that. Moreover 66.6% of polled professionals stated they do no currently own any home for either personal or investment purposes while as many as 10% own 2 homes or more.
Outside of housing costs (which includes rent or mortgage and utilities), 40.8% of respondents claim that their biggest expenditure is on food, and 15.6% state it is on school fees. Transport, travel and clothing rack up a collective 23.6% of costs, with only 1.5% of Middle East professionals spending most on children’s items – the lowest percentage in this category.
“The current distribution of expendable income suggests that in the first half of 2011, the majority of respondents are spending on essential items only, with very little being used towards entertainment and the purchase of non-essential goods,” said Amer Zureikat, VP Sales at Bayt.com. “This correlates with earlier data gathered by Bayt.com, and suggests that the current costs of living exceed the salaries received by most professionals in the MENA region.”
When asked what they would spend extra income on if they had it, 20.2% of respondents stated schooling costs for their children. 18.5% said they would choose to spend any extra money on either a car or travel, with the majority of respondents (57.8%) stating they currently travel once a year. Only 1.4% of Middle East professionals said they would use the extra money to purchase more children’s items.
In terms of shopping preferences, 30.7% of respondents said they prefer to shop in large malls, with 19% preferring large and diversified department stores. As for the shopping habits, the poll reinforced the prevalence of the internet in making regional shopping decisions as well as purchases. Poll results revealed that only 36.6% of Middle East professionals never compare items online nor buy them, whereas 23.4% of respondents occasionally compare items online but don’t buy them, 14.3% occasionally buy items online, 14.1% frequently compare items online but don’t buy them, and as many as 11.4% frequently buy items online.
When it comes to investments, the overwhelming majority of respondents (43.6%) admitted not being investment-savvy but showing an interest in acquiring this knowhow; 22.4% claimed to be clued in to the benefits of investing, with 19.4% understanding investments to a small extent. Of those surveyed, only 6.1% know nothing about investing, and have no interest in learning.
The poll results show that more than half of Middle East professionals (51.3%) are expecting to retire after 60, with the primary source of post-employment financial support coming from career savings and investments, according to 27.7% of respondents, or from career savings alone for 21.6% of respondents. Only 10.1% will rely on social security pay-outs.
“Our poll shows that there is a definite need for investment education in the MENA region, as there is a significant portion of the population unaware of the available options in the field but showing a willingness to learn more, presumably to increase returns on savings and possibly retire before the age of 60,” concluded Zureikat.
Data for the ‘MENA Saving and Spending Trends’ poll series was collected online between June 13 and July 30, 2011, with a total of 11,991 participants from across the Middle East.