• Consumer confidence in the UAE dipped to 70.9% in February, however, it is expected to rebound quickly because of long-term consumer optimism surrounding the country’s economy
  • Short-term negativity during February, a result of the private company income tax announcement, was quickly replaced as the news cycle moved on with early indicators predicting a return to growth
  • The GCC rebounded well to see net consumer confidence increase 0.7% in February to 58.1%
  • The February report, produced and developed by D/A, utilises AI technology to measure consumer confidence amongst over 100 million Arabic data-points in the GCC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The latest research by leading consumer intelligence company, D/A, has revealed the UAE witnessed a 3.1% decline in consumer confidence in February, down to 70.9%. However, the decline is expected to be short-term as early indicators point to a return to growth as sentiment across the economy, business, and employment improve.

The decline in UAE consumer confidence, the first time since January 2021, appears to have been driven by the news surrounding private company income tax. Both business and the economy witnessed a decrease of 2.1% and 8.5%, respectively, the latter denoting the most significant reduction since the onset of the pandemic. 

Paul Kelly, Manager Partner D/A, said: “After a substantial period of sentiment increase, there has been a short decline on the back of macroeconomic policy reform in February. However, February’s reading of 70.9% remains well into net positivity territory for the overall index.

“After assessing the daily data, we can deduce the decline in confidence was an example of short-lived negativity moving out of a typical news cycle. When the private company income tax news broke, there was a large spike in negativity, but this was quickly replaced as the news agenda moved on.”

From an employment sentiment perspective, for the first time since November 2021, this measurement witnessed an uptick in growth of 1.7%, reflecting consumers’ long-term optimism about the UAE economy.

“Early indications for March show a return to growth as sentiment improves, despite concerns surrounding higher oil prices and inflation,” added Kelly.

From a GCC perspective, overall, the region rebounded well to see net consumer confidence increase 0.7% in February to 58.1% from January’s 57.4%. Business confidence has rebounded strongly and is up 1.3% as concerns about regional politics, global economies, and socio-political conflicts subside. Employment sentiment recorded a month-on-month increase of 2.9%, continuing the positive theme.

Economically, a marginal decline of 0.5% in February to 60.4% was witnessed in the GCC, driven mainly by the significant increase in living costs associated with high oil prices and global supply constrictions.

“The GCC certainly appears to have snapped back from January’s declines, predominantly led by sentiment towards business and employment. It is worth noting that economic consumer confidence across most GCC countries registered positive sentiment. However, the contraction in confidence in the UAE has led to the decline,” concluded Kelly.

Sila, developed by D/A, is an Arabic-language AI tool created to gain insight and create strategies that drive brand growth across MENA and beyond. As the regional expert in Arabic consumer intelligence, D/A combines the speed and depth of their unique technology with expert strategy and analyst teams that bring human value to big data.

D/A uses natural language processing models in 21 Arabic dialects to understand sentiment and emotion without translating content first. This enables high accuracy and even more insight than currently available in the region.

For more information or to subscribe to the CSI reports, please visit d-a.co/csi.

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About D/A

D/A has developed a new wave of AI-driven technology, Sila ('connections' in Arabic), to understand and analyse Arabic dialects. This gives D/A an unparalleled, real-time understanding of how Arabic consumers interact with brands and react to the changing world around them.

With an audience-first approach, D/A enables marketers to place the consumer at the centre of every business challenge, unlocking accurate indicators for change.

D/A use this to create a foundation for impactful strategic data analysis. With the addition of natural language processing, D/A reinforce and add context to their analysis to predict behavioural changes — including consumption — for the future. Unlike global platform solutions, D/A can create an emotive portrait of an Arab-world consumer enriched with cultural, linguistic and regional behavioural traits. 

About Sila CSI

The Sila (Arabic for connection) Consumer Sentiment Index (Sila CSI) is an index of over 100 million data points on social media and was developed in 2020 as an indicator to measure perceptions of the economy, business and employment in the GCC. It excludes news and only focuses on conversations about those topics. The language used is then analysed using Natural Language Processing and AI to determine sentiment in Arabic dialects.

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