The latest findings indicate that male respondents in Saudi Arabia are slightly more optimistic about the coming six months than female respondents (95.2 vs. 95.0), but that consumers under the age of 30 years (96.2) are more optimistic than older respondents (94.8).
"Consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia has been steadily increasing across all indicators measured, highlighting the market's sustained growth and strength as the Arab world's largest economy," said Kashif Sohail, market manager, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Pakistan, MasterCard.
Across the Middle East, the consumer confidence level remains very optimistic at an average score of 81.1, with encouraging scores for all five indicators. When compared to the previous edition of the Index released 6 months ago, consumers are most optimistic about Regular Income (85.1 vs. 89.8), Employment (80.8 vs. 85.5), Economy (80.0 vs. 84.4), Stock Market (79.9 vs. 74.9) and Quality of Life (79.9 vs. 82.9).
In the Middle East, consumer confidence remains the highest in Qatar, with a score of 96.5. Qatar is followed by Kuwait (95.8), Oman (95.6), Saudi Arabia (95.2) the UAE (91.4), Egypt (66.6) and Lebanon (26.8).
The Middle East's aggregate score of 81.1 remains higher than that of Asia/Pacific (59.7) and Africa (69.6), as was the case in the previous survey.
The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence ("Index") is based on a survey conducted between 7 November to 23 December 2012 on 11,339 respondents aged 18 - 64 in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. This is the 40th survey of Consumer Confidence conducted since 1993.
Respondents were asked 5 questions pertaining to their 6-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 5 component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the 5 component index scores range from 0 - 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.