Consumers in Qatar are the most optimistic in the Middle East and Levant region and 19% of them plan to save more than 50% of their total income in the next six months, according to Mastercard survey.
“The overall index score of 89.2 shows that consumers in Qatar are more optimistic about regular income, employment, stock market, the economy and quality of life,” said Raghu Malhotra, area business head, Mastercard Worldwide, Middle East (Gulf countries).
The average score for the Middle East was 75; while it was 71 in the case of Kuwait, 83 (Saudi Arabia) and 86 (the UAE), the index of consumer confidence revealed.
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. It is 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 overall positive consumer sentiment is reflected by the five economic factors that make up the overall index score: regular income (91.8 against 80 in the previous six months), quality of life (91.8 against 68.4), economy (90.8 against 82.5), stock market (86.3 against 52.7) and employment (85.2 against 73.3).
In Qatar, males were more upbeat than females and those in the 30-44 years age group were more optimistic than those less than 30 years and those more than 45 years
On saving priorities, the survey said 52% of the respondents said they plan to save more in the next six months against the Middle East average of 31%; while 34% maintained that the savings level will remain the same (48%) and only 14% said they would save less (21%).
In terms of proportion of savings; 19% of respondents in Qatar said they plan to save more than 50% of their total income against the Middle East average of 4%; 49% said they plan to save 21%-50% of income (27%) and 26% said they plan to save less than 20% (66%).
Across the Middle East and Levant, 70% of the consumers intend to save for precautionary reasons compared to 71% in Qatar alone.
On the discretionary spending in the next six months, the survey found that 56% of respondents in Qatar said it will remain the same against the Middle East average of 58%, while 30% said it will decrease (16%) and only 14% said it will increase (26%).
Regarding purchasing priorities, Malhotra said it was interesting that in Qatar, buying property, fashion and accessories and dining and entertainment emerged among the top spending categories for consumers.
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