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Confidence high for a bright post-pandemic future among Gulf population

Published: Updated:

Despite the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers in the Gulf are among the most positive globally, when it comes to their current, and future situation. That’s according to a report that measures public optimism, released today.

The inaugural Ding Global Prepaid Index (GPI) found that consumers in the GCC are among the world’s most optimistic when considering a post-COVID future.

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This bi-annual global study commissioned by mobile top-up service, Ding, examined the views of 7,000 respondents across KSA, UAE, Qatar, US, the UK, France, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Vaccine hesitancy in the region is also low in comparison to the rest of the world, with 62 percent in the GCC planning to get the vaccine, once it is available. This was highest in the UAE (68 percent), followed by KSA (66 percent) while Qatar is slightly more skeptical with 53 percent. This is still substantially higher when compared to France, where 33 percent of the respondents plan to get vaccinated.

People sit at restaurant in Dubai on May 26, 2020 as the Gulf emirate moved to ease their lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. (File photo: AFP)
People sit at restaurant in Dubai on May 26, 2020 as the Gulf emirate moved to ease their lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. (File photo: AFP)

There is a direct correlation between consumer confidence and perceived government handling of the COVID-19 crisis and again, GCC countries scored highly. Saudi Arabia had the highest approval rating for its government with 82 percent stating that the government is doing all it can to deal with the crisis. In the UAE this stands at 79 percent while in Qatar it is at 72 percent. This is in stark contrast to the West where just 34 percent in the US agree the government is doing all it can to handle the crisis, and 47 percent in both France and UK.

Mark Roden, Ding.com’s founder suggested the higher confidence of the public in the Gulf for their post-COVID future compared to other parts of the world could be linked to transparence and communication.

“One possibility is that the Gulf countries were more effective in communicating with their citizens and residents regarding their approach to the pandemic, the overall strategy and the roll out of the vaccines than in the G8 countries surveyed,” Roden said. Quite simply, the more clarity you provide… this can have a direct correlation to economic confidence.”

Diving deeper into the data, Saudi Arabian consumer confidence is at 68, UAE at 62 and Qatar, which only recently restored diplomatic ties with the rest of the GCC, is at 58. This positivity is also felt towards the economy with 71 percent in the Gulf stating that they have an optimistic economic outlook, with 66 percent feeling optimistic about their future work prospects.

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