Canadian Consumer Confidence Recovering Slightly but Still Below Average as Federal Budget is Unveiled

TORONTO, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian Consumer Confidence recovered slightly in March after falling quite sharply during the previous month.

According to the latest consumer confidence survey conducted by TNS, the Canadian Consumer Confidence Index regained a single point, edging back up to 96.5 after falling from 99.1 to 95.5 in February.

"Canadians' confidence in our economy experienced a slight bounce in March after a very hard fall in February. The slight increase tends to be more reflective of a collective uncertainty as to what's going to happen next, as opposed to more optimistic thinking for the future." explained Norman Baillie-David, Senior Vice President of TNS in Canada and Director of the Marketing and Social Research firm's monthly tracking study.

"March's results are showing that Canadians have mixed feelings:  they're feeling better about their situation right now, but aren't sure about what's coming down the pipe, which makes the contents of today's Federal budget all the more important.   Many of those who felt very pessimistic last month, bringing the index down, have taken a deep breath and seen February's bad economic news hasn't  affected them personally all that much; but they're reserving judgement for the future."

The Present Situation Index, which measures how people feel about the economy right now, which plunged almost six full points in February, rebounded the  strongest amongst the three sub-indices in March, gaining back 3.4 points and rising from 93.9 back to 97.3, reflecting a collective sigh of relief.

The Expectations Index, which measures people's outlook for the economy six months from now, remained relatively flat again in March, dropping 0.7 points from 101.8 to 101.1, which in fact should be interpreted as no drop at all in statistical terms.  This shows that even though Canadians feel somewhat more confident about their present situation, it's translating into optimism for the foreseeable future.

The Buy Index, which measures the extent to which Canadians feel that now is a good time to purchase a "big ticket item" such as a car or a major household appliance, also remained flat in March after dropping 3.6 points in February.

"With the housing market still retreating and with news of an impending Federal budget (being tabled today), Canadians are holding their cards close to their chest with regards to their spending plans. This may be a worrying sign for the consumer durables and home renovation retail sectors, as Spring usually tends to lift spirits as Canadians buy new homes and/or spruce up their existing homes with new appliances and home renovation projects. How Canadians react to the Budget with regard to their spending plans will be crucial for consumer confidence going forward."  added Mr. Baillie-David.

Full report with charts available at:
http://www.tnscanada.ca/news/2013.03.21-CCI-Tracking-2013-03.pdf

Consumer Confidence Index tracks Canadians' attitudes about the economy each month and is part of a global study conducted by TNS in 18 countries. Three indices are produced each month to show how confidence in the economy is changing: Present Situation Index; an Expectations Index; and a Buy Index.

The Canadian fieldwork is conducted using the firm's national bi-weekly telephone omnibus service, TNS Express Telephone.  A total of 1,015 nationally representative Canadian adults were interviewed between March 11 and March 14, 2013. For a survey sample of this size, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About TNS and Kantar

TNS (www.tnscanada.ca) is the Canadian arm of TNS Global. TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world's consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.

Kantar is one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group's services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. 

Please visit www.kantar.com for more information.


SOURCE: TNS

For further information:

If you want more information on these results please contact:

Norman Baillie-David, MBA, CMRP 
Vice President
(613) 230-4408 x101
norman.baillie-david@tnsglobal.com
@NBaillieDavid
www.tnscanada.ca
@TNSCanada