Canadians upbeat on financial future as Consumer Confidence rises

OTTAWA, March 4 /CNW/ - The latest Harris/Decima-Investor's Group Measure of Consumer Confidence reveals:

    
    -   In Canada, consumer confidence rose and remains ahead of a similar
        measure in the United States. Canadian consumer confidence increased
        from 85.5 in November to 89.0 today. In the US, the measure stands
        at 73.6, an increase from the 67.4 recorded in November.

    -   Canadians remain three times more likely to see good times
        financially for themselves a year from now than bad. 31% of
        respondents anticipate they'll be better off financially a year from
        now than they are now, while 9% say they'll be worse off. This split
        has remained almost unchanged for 3 waves now, dating back to
        August 2009.

    -   30% of Canadians see good times ahead in the next year for the
        economy overall, while 13% see bad times. This represents a slight
        increase from November, when 25% saw good economic times ahead for
        Canada.

    -   A majority (60%) believe there will be good times financially for the
        Canadian economy in the next 5 years, while 28% believe there will be
        unemployment and recession over this period.

    -   A majority (50%) remain of the view that now is a good time to make a
        major purchase. 31% believe it is a bad time to make such a purchase.
        These numbers are almost identical to splits recorded in August and
        November.

    -   In terms of how people perceive the last year, 17% indicated they
        were better off financially compared to a year ago, while 19% feel
        they are worse off. This represents a significant decrease from 27%
        who said they were worse off in November, compared to the previous
        year.
    

According to Senior Vice-President Doug Anderson "With three quarters of similar consumer confidence results, we're back up to the relatively high levels that we consistently recorded throughout 2006 and 2007. The US is continuing an upward trend, but still lags well behind Canada and still not what it was before the economic crisis. Before the economic crisis, Canadians were more likely to say it was a good time to make a major purchase than to say the Canadian economy would be better next year and beyond. While we see higher-than-normal measures of agreement that the economy is growing, people are still not quite sure where they are on making a major purchase - despite record low interest rates and optimism for the future. Optimism is returning, as is consumer confidence, but the crisis may have instilled a little more caution around spending. The results on making a major purchase beg a question: how will this sentiment change if or when interest rates increase?"

"Canadians' positive attitude towards the near and medium term financial future is very encouraging," said Jack Courtney, Assistant Vice-President of Advanced Financial Planning at Investors Group. "Increased confidence in their financial future will help Canadians focus on ensuring they are well prepared with a comprehensive personal financial plan."

These data were gathered through teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey for two weeks from February 18 to February 28, 2010 for just over 2,000 completes. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

SOURCE Harris/Decima

For further information: For further information: Doug Anderson, Senior Vice-President, danderson@harrisdecima.com, harrisdecima.com; Ron Arnst, Director, Media Relations, Investors Group, Ron.Arnst@investorsgroup.com

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