16 December 2009: Consumers across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa markets are approaching the next six months with optimism, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey, released today. As the global economy recovers, 21 of the 24 markets polled reflected positive consumer sentiment looking ahead, including Vietnam (90.3), Nigeria (89.4), Qatar (89.2), United Arab Emirates (86.1) and China (85), which topped the list.
Developed markets in the region have seen a quick recovery in consumer confidence. United Arab Emirates leapt up in confidence with the largest Index score increase of the markets last surveyed six months ago (29.6 to 86.1). Sharp improvements were also evident for Singapore with a strongly optimistic Index score of 79.4, up from a pessimistic 31.2 in the previous survey, New Zealand (69.7, up from 21.5 six months ago), and Australia (69.5 from 24.1). Across the three markets, confidence in the Economy and Employment has improved dramatically.
Now in its 17th year, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the region’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 10,623 consumers from 24 markets. 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.
The Asia/Pacific region saw an increase in its consumer confidence index score from six months ago (66.3 up from 38.7). Vietnam (90.0), China (85.3) and Singapore (79.4) reflected significantly higher consumer confidence compared to other markets in the region. Most markets showed increased confidence in their Employment outlook, particularly Vietnam and Singapore, which topped the region for confidence in this indicator.
Japan (24.4), which has been pessimistic in its outlook for 30 of the 34 surveys since the inception of the Index, continued this trend – more than one in three Japanese consumers expect the Economy to be worse in the next six months. The Philippines (49.7) hovered near the neutral mark, pulled upwards by a positive outlook towards Regular Income for the six month period ahead.
Nigeria’s consumer confidence (89.4) was strongest among the four African markets surveyed, and was second behind Vietnam of all the 24 markets surveyed. Morocco (66.1) also had a positive outlook for the next six months. South African consumer confidence while still optimistic has fallen from six months ago (59.8 down from 78.7). Kenya (47.9), on the other hand, joins Japan in being pessimistic about the six month period ahead. The outlook on Regular Income was the most positive indicator across the four African markets surveyed – even Kenyans were optimistic about Regular Income for the next six months.
Markets in the Middle East seemed to be tracking to 2008 levels of optimism with the current index score of 74.5. The consolidated Index score across the six Middle East markets surveyed was much higher than that of six months ago (49.9) and even a year ago (72.7). Sentiments were particularly strong in Qatar (89.2), UAE (86.1) and Saudi Arabia (83.2). Consumers in Lebanon were more pessimistic compared to six months ago (55.4 down from 64.4). Nearly one in four in Lebanon expects their income to decrease in the next six months.
Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide said, “The global economy has started to stabilize in the second half of 2009; and conditions have improved especially fast in the Asia/Pacific region. The latest findings of the overall robust rebound in consumer confidence in the region mirrors progress seen in the real economy. In some of the markets where consumer sentiments had fallen precipitously in 2008 and early 2009; their rebound has been equally sharp. While a V-shaped economic recovery remains unlikely, the same cannot be said for consumer confidence as it appears to be a V-shaped rebound in confidence. This is to the extent that the renewed confidence leads to lower precautionary savings and higher spending, then business outlook will improve; thereby encouraging more investment. This will contribute to the momentum of recovery."
Below is a YouTube video comprising further insights from Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong.
More information on the Index can be found at the website www.masterintelligence.com
Slides on the report can be found at http://www.slideshare.net/MasterCardNews
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