KARACHI - The results of the latest Consumer Confidence Survey, conducted during September 5 to 9, show that in general consumers' confidence on Pakistan's economy has increased.

A State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) statement here on Friday said that the overall Consumer Confidence Index increased by 5.07 percent compared to the previous survey, held in July 2017.

The improvement in consumer confidence is reflected in the increase in Current Economic Conditions Index as well as Expected Economic Conditions Index. Moreover, the index, showing inflation expectations also increased by 2.6 percent during this period.

It may be recalled that State Bank of Pakistan is regularly conducting Consumer Confidence surveys through telephonic calls to consumers that are selected randomly across the country.

These surveys are conducted after every two months and provide information on `what people are thinking' about current and future economic conditions, future trends in inflation, interest rates, unemployment, and their household income. Such information are helpful in the monetary policy formulation, the SBP statement added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s burgeoning youth and their freewheeling attitude toward rising incomes have turned the nation into the world’s fastest growing retail market.

Faseeh Mangi wrote in Bloomberg website, the market is predicted to expand 8.2 percent per annum through 2016-21 as disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International. The size of the middle class is estimated to surpass that of the UK and Italy in the forecast period, it said.

Pakistan’s improving security environment, economic expansion at near 5 percent and cheap consumer prices are driving shoppers to spend up big. Almost two-thirds of the nation’s 207.8 million people are aged under 30, according to the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank. “We have a new millennial shopper at hand. They don’t mind spending to have the kind of lifestyle they would like,” said Shabori Das, senior research analyst at Euromonitor. “It’s not like the Baby Boomer generation where savings for the future generation was important.”

Pakistan is bucking the trend in the US — where stores are closing at a record pace as e-commerce undermines bricks-and-mortar. It’s also attracting foreign operators: Turkish home appliance maker Arcelik AS and Dutch dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina NV entered the market last year via acquisitions. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Co, Kia Motors Corp and Renault SA are all building plants in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan’s retail stores are expected to increase by 50 percent to 1 million outlets in the five years through 2021, Euromonitor said. Its three biggest malls, Lucky One in Karachi and Packages Mall and Emporium Mall in Lahore, opened in the past two years.

Pakistan is mirroring what India went through about four years ago. Both countries have young populations with more income and less inclination toward saving which is a distinct difference to what retailers elsewhere are dealing with, said Das.