The first phase of the Consumer Confidence Poll 2017, undertaken by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), will continue till 16th March 2017. The poll began on 7th March. According to NCSI officials, the poll aims at calculating the Consumer Confidence Index (Index of Consumer Sentiment, ICS), which is a key measure of the state of economy.
The poll is conducted over telephone using both landline and mobile phones, and is designed to assess the degree of satisfaction among the citizens with the Sultanate's current economic status as reflected by inflation, employment opportunities, investment climate, economic policies pursued by the government, and the cost of living, among others. It also gauges the extent of public optimism regarding economic development in the short-term (one year).
The sample size of the poll is 1500, covering Omani nationals aged 18 or above, and distributed across the 11 governorates; and the poll error margin is limited to 3%. Consumer confidence index reflects consumer behavior. When citizens are willing to spend more money, there will be increased demand for various goods and services, resulting in increased production and a rise in production facilities to meet that demand, which in turn will aid the economic recovery process. The opposite occurs when consumer spending declines, which leads to an economic downturn. Thus, the consumer confidence index offers a futuristic idea about the direction of economic growth.
The methodology and formula used by NCSI to calculate the consumer confidence index has been developed by the Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, USA, and is widely used by national governments across the world. This enables global comparisons of the index thus obtained.
The methodology involves simple arithmetic average of three sub-indicators: current economic conditions index, household income level index, and consumer expectations index. The indices range in value from 0-200: 0 indicates utter pessimism and complete dissatisfaction, while 200 shows the most optimistic mood. A value of 100 indicates neutrality. The poll assigns appropriate weightages in terms of province, sex, and educational levels (below secondary, secondary, above secondary), and age (less than 30 years, between 30 and 50, and above 50).
NCSI will carry out quarterly polls in order to follow up on the changes in indicator values. The NCSI team has designed a scientific and easy questionnaire that fits the telephonic method of data collection. Questions will focus on household income, current economic situation, and consumer expectations.