Consumer confidence in the UAE has reached a record high, a latest report said. Consumers in the UAE have indicated that they are highly optimistic about the coming 6 months, according to the results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence. Consumer confidence in the UAE is at a record high, with a score of 95.6 showing significant improvement from six months ago (73.6), a year ago (82.4) and even 18 months ago (86.1). In fact, the latest consumer confidence score for the UAE is the highest that it has been since 2004 and is significantly higher than markets such as China (78.3), Hong Kong (69.9) and India (75.2). Now in its 19th year, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market for the next six months based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. The latest survey was conducted from March to April 2011 and involved 17,620 consumers from 25 markets. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance. UAE consumers are most optimistic about the Economy (96.2) and Regular Income (96.1) and least optimistic about Employment (94.7). However, all indicators of consumer confidence were rated as being exceptionally positive, including Quality of Life (95.7) and the Stock Market (95.4) The survey also revealed that male consumers in the UAE tend to be more optimistic about their prospects for the coming months as compared to female consumers (97.2 vs 93.6), and that those under thirty years of age tend to be more positive than consumers over the age of thirty (98.2 vs 93.5). However, it is worth noting that confidence levels for all gender and age demographics remain above 90. “It is very encouraging to see that UAE consumer sentiment is continuing its upward momentum and is expected to reach a record high in the coming months. The findings are in line with the recent trends that we have observed in the market with retail, travel and hospitality sectors, in particular, registering a significant upturn. The MasterCard survey provides further good news for the UAE business community,” said Raghu Malhotra, general manager, Middle East, MasterCard Worldwide. Overall, in the Middle East, consumer confidence has gone up significantly compared to six months ago (83.4 vs 71.6). Respondents were most optimistic about Regular Income (86.8 vs 83.0 six months ago) and least optimistic about the Stock Market, even though the latter indicator has increased drastically in the last six months (81.5 vs 63.2). In fact, all five economic indicators have increased in the Middle East compared to six months ago. The Middle East’s aggregate score of 83.4 is also substantially higher than that of Asia/ Pacific (61.5) and Africa (73.8).