Wealthy UAE – Charity, Leisure, equal priorities

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According to the recent VISA Affluent Study 2013, UAE citizens belonging to the affluent socio-economic class — give equal priority to charity, dining out, leisure and expenditures on family holidays.

UAE nationals
UAE citizens celebrating during UAE National Day. The VISA Affluent Study 2013 has revealed the well-off in the UAE are motivated by a need to help others through charitable donations as much as spending on family holidays, dining out and enjoying the finer things in life. Photo: Chu/Flickr

The affluent group did not exhibit the propensity to be reckless with their money, but rather, were cautious and optimistic about their future financial situation in the uncertain global economy.

The study revealed that the UAE was ranked 5th among the surveyed countries in terms of individual plans for future discretionary spending on charity donations and holidays.

The top 3 countries include China, India and Indonesia in descending order. These are the countries with the most positive outlook on the economy which in turn led to them say they were planning to spend more on discretionary items over the coming year. The sources for discretionary expenditures include family holidays, donations to charity and evenings out.

With regards to future discretionary spending, Japan ranked the lowest — showing a pessimistic outlook for the future.

Priorities of UAE citizens:

  • It was found that while credit cards are the choice of payment for most discretionary items, UAE citizens choose cash when making charitable donations
  • In addition, 50% will shop online using their credit cards every month with the average spend per month reaching Dhs2,749 ($748)
  • When planning for the future, the affluent identified staying healthy and providing for their children’s education as future goals
  • Concerning family holiday trips over 90% took an overseas holiday in the last year and plan to travel again in the coming year
  • While the well-off in the UAE like to spend, they also have a penchant for savings, as more than 70% of the affluent in UAE save every month for their discretionary spends, saving an average of Dhs8,805 every month
  • Younger women under 30 are the biggest savers for this kind of spending activity

The study, conducted across Asia Pacific and the Middle East, looked at affluent consumers’ spending habits, priorities, optimism about the future and indexed their propensity to spend on discretionary items in the future.

Marcello Baricordi; “The VISA Affluent Study shows a strong correlation between the expectation of positive economic performance in the region and the likelihood to spend more on discretionary items. This, of course, is natural, as affluent consumers may expect more disposable income with a stable or growing economy. What is perhaps surprising is that most of the affluent agree that one of the most important aspects of wealth is to make sure that they use this position of responsibility to contribute to society. This is shown by the amount donated to good causes and the commitment to increase donations in the future.

What is also encouraging is that apart from family holidays the bulk of discretionary spending is made within the UAE and therefore helping to boost economic prosperity within the country. There is also clearly a very positive feeling about life from the UAE affluent who believe they have the opportunity to learn new things, enjoy new experiences and share them with loved ones.”– Marcello Baricordi, General Manager for VISA in the UAE and Global Accounts lead

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