Consumers in Lebanon Remain Optimistic: MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence
Consumers in Lebanon remain optimistic about the next six months, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence Survey that was released today. However, the overall Index score [55.4] shows that consumers in Lebanon are less optimistic about Regular Income, Employment, Stock Market, the Economy and Quality of Life compared to six months ago [64.4].
Now in its sixth year in the Middle East and Levant, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey. Released twice a year, the Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market for 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.
The latest survey was conducted from 1 October to 9 November 2009 and involved 2,400 consumers from 6 markets in the Middle East and Levant . Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
In Lebanon, consumers’ confidence has become less optimistic [55.4] compared to a period ago [64.4] and a year ago [69.1]. Consumer sentiment is reflected by the five economic factors that make up the overall Index score: Employment (54.0 vs. 62.5 a period ago), Economy (54.5 vs. 58.6 a period ago), Regular Income (54.7 vs. 72.1 a period ago), Stock Market (56.5 vs. 69.6 a period ago) and Quality of Life (57.5 vs. 59.3 a period ago).
The MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities, also released twice a year, provides valuable insights into consumers’ savings and expenditure behavior and their discretionary spending priorities for the six months ahead. The survey is now in its second year in the Middle East and Levant.
“In Lebanon, consumers remain optimistic about the future although less so compared to six months ago. Over the years, consumer confidence in Lebanon has always reflected the market’s unique dynamics as opposed to the global economic environment,” said Shaun Rashid, area business head, Egypt and Levant, MasterCard Worldwide.
“Regarding purchasing priorities, it is interesting that in Lebanon fashion and accessories, dining and entertainment, and private tuition for children, emerged as some of the top spending categories for consumers.”
Rashid concluded, “MasterCard is pleased to be presenting one of the region’s most comprehensive and longest running survey as this best demonstrates our commitment to be a credible source of knowledge. The survey results provide compelling consumer insights, especially as customers, associates and merchants look to execute their strategies for business success in 2010.”
In support of the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence and MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities, a team of MasterCard executives briefed Lebanese customers on the survey results. The MasterCard team included Shaun Rashid, Basel Eltell, vice president and regional manager, Levant, MasterCard Worldwide, Paul Mampilli, vice president, marketing lead, Middle East and Levant, MasterCard Worldwide and Karen Hargreaves, vice president, consumer marketing and corporate communications, Middle East & Levant, MasterCard Worldwide.
MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence
The Index is calculated based upon percentage response figures, 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.
Consumer confidence across the Middle East and Levant is optimistic at 74.5. The current Index is higher than the score from a period ago [49.9] and a year ago [72.7].
• In the Middle East and Levant on the aggregate level, all economic factors have increased compared to a period ago.
• Consumer confidence in the UAE [86.1] increased significantly compared to a period ago [29.6] and leapt up in confidence with the largest Index score increase of the Middle East and Levant markets.
• Consumer confidence in Qatar [89.2] and KSA [83.2] further increased in optimism compared to a period ago. In Kuwait, consumer confidence has moved from neutral [49.5] a period ago to optimistic [70.9].
• In Lebanon, consumer confidence [55.4] remains optimistic. However, current consumer sentiment is lower than a period ago [64.4] and a year ago [69.1]. The overall decline is due to the decrease of confidence in all five economic factors surveyed.
• Egypt has moved from pessimism in the previous Index [32.3] to optimism [59.5]. Consumer sentiment for the next six months in both Cairo [62.5] and Alexandria [50.2] is positive.
MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities
• Currently 29% of the consumers in Lebanon are spending 81–90% of their total annual income on household expenses.
• Across the Middle East and Levant, 58% of the consumers plan to maintain the same level of discretionary/recreation spending as in the last six months. In Lebanon itself, 63% of the consumers plan to do the same.
• Across the Middle East and Levant, the top spending priorities are dining and entertainment (52%), fashion and accessories (47%), and buying or renovating home or property (38%) in the next 6 months ahead. In Lebanon, the top spending priorities are fashion and accessories (54%), dining and entertainment (36%) and private tuition for children (35%).
• Across the Middle East and Levant, 70% of the consumers intend to save for precautionary reasons compared to the 68% in Lebanon alone. In addition, in Lebanon, 60% of the consumers are planning to save between 1–10% of their total income in the next 6 months.
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