Canadian consumers still pondering the economy's future: Survey

TORONTO, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - The latest results from TNS Canadian Facts' Consumer Confidence Index suggest that Canadians remain in a pondering mood, ever-so-slightly up on some measures and down on others. They are listening to the positive news but remain unconvinced that they should start moving on the major-purchase front. The overall index now stands at 98.0, off a smidge from September's 98.7.

"Thinking. Thinking. That's what Canadians seem to be up to when it comes to the national economy. When I look at the numbers for the past few months, the figure of Rodin's Thinker keeps popping into my head. Canadians, for the most part, only seem ready to think about the positive economic news but not ready to act on it," said Dr. Michael Antecol, vice-president of TNS Canadian Facts and director of the marketing research firm's monthly tracking study.

The drags on this month's overall index are twofold. After several consecutive positive months, the Present Situation Index, which captures evaluations of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, slid one point to 85.5 from September's 86.5. And the Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, fell for the second straight month, losing 2.4 points to 101.3.

But slight positive notes are evident in the Expectations Index, which measures consumers' estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months. Not only is this index much higher than it was at this time last year, it also recaptured its small September loss, posting a 1.2 uptick to settle at 111.2 this month.

"With expectations rising but buying on hold, we can expect that pent-up demand will be building among Canadian consumers. Eventually, that demand has to bubble over into action. True, we've been waiting for this to happen. But it's inevitable that The Thinker will eventually be eclipsed by the classic Borghese Gladiator," added Dr. Antecol.

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 October 12 and 15, 2009. For a survey sample this size, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

TNS Canadian Facts (www.tns-cf.com) is one of Canada's most prestigious full-service marketing, opinion and social research organizations.

About TNS

TNS, who recently merged with Research International, is the world's largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 70 countries, TNS is part of the Kantar Group. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy networks. 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 26,500 employees work across 95 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.

SOURCE TNS

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Dr. Michael Antecol, Vice President, Tel: (604) 668-3306, e-mail: michael.antecol@tns-global.com; David Stark, Vice President, Public Affairs, Tel: (416) 924-5751 x238, e-mail: david.stark@tns-global.com

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