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UAE Consumers Expect Economic Recovery in 2010


31st December 2009, Dubai, UAE
Results of Global Study in UAE, Saudi, USA, United Kingdom, Russia and Germany.

On the eve of the new decade, research results have been released to show that 2010 is expected to bring cheer to the UAE; the economic recovery is expected to start in the last quarter of 2010 and fully recover in the second quarter of 2012.

Research conducted by the Dubai based market research company Real Opinions shows that according to consumer opinion in the UAE there emphatically has been an economic downturn for the vast majority of residents. Just 15% in the UAE believed there is no economic downturn.

Whether directly impacted by the economic downturn or a cautious attitude is adopted due to imminent fear of, average household expenditure is said to have decreased for 7 in 10 UAE residents. In percentage terms for these residents spending less, this amounted to a decrease of 26% in average household expenditure in a typical month. However, 1 in 4 UAE residents claim to not have been impacted with 19% reporting no change at all and 6% actually increasing expenditure.

Dan Healy, CEO of Real Opinions who conducted the research, added “Back in April 2010 we reported that UAE expatriates predicted a recovery starting in the UAE by November 2010 and these latest research results back this up. This optimism back then was emphasized with the expectation that the UAE would do so the quickest globally. However, the property market is expected to play a key role in this looking forward as 7 in 10 who had invested in property claimed at the time to be in negative equity and this situation doesn’t seem to have improved much since then.”

In terms of the contentious role of the media reporting on the economic crisis, just 1 in 5 (21%) in the UAE believe that it has been balanced with 4 in 10 (42%) of the opinion that it was talked down and in turn the issue under played. Just 3 in 10 (31%) believed it was talked up, making the situation worse.

Healy added, “To help put these results into perspective, we also conducted this research online in 5 other countries, namely United Kingdom, USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Germany with a total of over 1,500 respondents. In terms of the media’s role in reporting the economic crisis, 7 in 10 (72%) residents in the United Kingdom felt the media had actually made it worse by talking up the economic crisis, the highest of the countries surveyed. Despite the media reporting, the survey results show that the consumer economic reality wasn’t as bad in UK as other countries surveyed. The UK had one of the lowest percentages reporting a decrease in household expenditure (58%) and rate of percentage decrease was also comparatively low (20%).”

Healy further commented, “Media and in particular the Internet play a key role in the dissemination of information (whether objective, well researched or perpetuating rumors) which in particular can impact upon consumer opinion on subject matters which might be out of their comfort zone (e.g. such as the intricacies of the global finance industry and economics). Our past research has shown consumers tap into a multitude of traditional and new media sources to understand situations better. The majority of their opinions sit in the middle of all these perspectives and most importantly reiterates their own economic reality. We believe our research results serve the purpose of doing exactly that, reflecting the reality of residents in these countries. An increase in consumer confidence and in turn expenditure can be one of the key drivers to a recovery and this research shows when this might be.”

The results in the countries surveyed show that this is a global economic downturn uniting them all. The highlights in some of the countries surveyed include:

Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia reported the least impact upon average household expenditure with 53% claiming a decrease. However, a disparity seems to be opening up as those who did report a decrease reported the largest drop in household expenditure of all the countries surveyed with a 28% decrease. In contrast, there were 38% who reported either an increase (15%) or no change (23%).

United Kingdom - In the United Kingdom with the highest perception that their media had actually talked up the economic crisis, there was a comparatively low 58% who claim to have decreased household expenditure and by 20% less. They reported the highest percentage claiming no change in expenditure for 1 in 4 residents (25%). The outlook is most pessimistic in the UK than in other countries, with a full recovery to the height before the downturn not expected until mid 2013.

USA - There were 3 in 4 residents in the USA (75%) who reported a decrease in household expenditure and this was the highest of all the countries surveyed. The percentage decrease in expenditure was also a comparatively high amount of 28%. This decrease of 28% closely matching the percentage reported in Saudi Arabia but with it having a wider impact on 22% more USA residents.

In the first half of 2010, Real Opinions will be conducting workshops in Dubai to assist organizations with effective decision making, harnessing digital opportunities and integrating innovation onto their organizations.

Healy added, “ We hope these research results will help build confidence for consumers and help organizations to make better decisions leading up to the expected recovery’. A full report of these survey results for each country is available from Real Opinions.

Research Methodology
The research was conducted using an online research methodology in each of the countries. The number surveyed in each country was All (1,568), UAE (306), Saudi (257), UK (213), USA (253), Russia (354) & Germany (185). At a total level, the margin of error of results is calculated at approximately +/- 2.5% with a CI of 95%.

About Real Opinions
Real Opinions is a full-service market research company with global and Middle East research expertise and best practice. Based in Dubai, Real Opinions has proven ability to help strategically guide effective decision making and communication.

Real Opinions is an accredited member of ESOMAR, an international organisation for market research. For more information visit

Real Opinions Executive Team
Dan Healy, founder and CEO of Real Opinions, has over 10 years online research experience and has held senior executive roles in London in the New Media team of NOP, Nielsen//NetRatings and setting up offices for YouGov in the Middle East as their Regional Research Director.

Contact for More Information
Dan Healy
Real Opinions

Media Coverage
UAE residents cautious about spending but expect fast recovery
Emirates Business 24/7

Consumers expect recovery this year

UAE consumers expect economic recovery in 2010
AME Info

UAE buyers see economic rebound in 2010
Arabian Business

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