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Egyptians spend heavily on entertainment despite financial woes: Survey

According to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence, Egyptian consumer confidence rose 6 index points in the third quarter of the violent ridden 2013

Waad Ahmed , Wednesday 13 Nov 2013
Egypt
A file photo shows Egyptians shopping at a mall in Cairo. (Photo: Reuters)
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Consumer confidence in Egypt rose by six index points to reach 83 in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the previous quarter, according to a recent survey.

Egypt reported the biggest increase in the Middle East in terms of spending, although 85 percent of Egyptians surveyed believe they were in economic recession, the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions showed.

The United Arab Emirates scored the highest of the Middle Eastern countries with 111 points, followed by Saudi Arabia at 97.

"Drastic changes over the past three years in Egypt have impacted the pockets of Egyptians," Tamer El-Araby, managing director at Nielsen Egypt, stated in the report.

"Despite the scarcity of jobs, and the low wages, however, Egyptians are optimistic by nature and believe that a new regime will bring them social justice and freedom, which is translating to improved consumer confidence results reported in the third quarter," he added.

Prior to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July there was a general state of apprehension in the country, and the Egyptian bourse's main index slumped 16 percent between March and June. 

This explains why the CCI was low in Q2, Moheb Malak, economist at Prime Holding told Ahram Online.

The survey polled only internet users, divided into categories based on gender and age. It did not reflect income levels or other economic characteristics.

"The consumption attitude of the poor is more sensitive than that of the rich to any economic or political changes, which means that income levels should be taken in to consideration when surveying consumption confidence," Malak said.

Average weekly salaries in Egypt grew by 20 percent in 2012 to reach LE641, data from official statistics body CAPMAS showed.

In 2011, Egyptian workers were paid an average weekly salary of LE534.

Despite Egypt's high poverty rate, the report showed that Egyptians came seventh out of 60 countries surveyed in spending on entertainment outside of the home.

Egypt’s poverty rate has increased in recent years, reaching an average of 25.5 percent for the year 2010/2011, compared with 21.6 percent in 2008/2009.

"In line with confidence findings and the current events, it is not surprising to see that Egyptians consumers are using a big portion of their spending for their leisure, holidays and entertainment," said El-Araby.

The online survey, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.

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