Confidence in the doldrums: survey



    Pessimism still reigns in post-holiday season

    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Canadians continue to hold a negative outlook on
the economy according to the latest results from TNS Canadian Facts' Consumer
Confidence Index. The overall Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 83.5,
which is up marginally from 83.0 last month. A year ago, the Index stood at
103.7.
    "With pessimism about the economy dominating the consumer outlook, the
federal government will be under considerable pressure to deliver a meaningful
stimulus plan in next week's budget," said Richard Jenkins, vice-president of
TNS Canadian Facts and director of the marketing research firm's monthly
tracking study.
    The Present Situation Index, which captures evaluations of the overall
state of the economy and the employment situation, stands at 79.3, setting a
new low in the four and a half years that TNS has been conducting the study.
The Index is down from the previous low of 84.3, which was recorded just last
month. Only 19 per cent of Canadians think the current economy is at least
fairly good. Last year at this time, 58 per cent held this view.
    The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' estimation of the
economy, household income and employment in the next six months, rose slightly
to recover a portion of the loss recorded between November and December. The
index now stands at 84.1, up from 80.4 last month, but still down considerably
from November's reading of 93.2.
    The Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current
period is a good time to make major purchases, also improved slightly. The
index now sits at 88.5 compared with 84.1 in December.
    "While it is encouraging to see slight improvements in Canadians'
expectations for the future, and in their assessment of the economic climate
for buying big-ticket items, the deepening pessimism about the present will
likely dominate consumer spending decisions for the short term," added
Jenkins.
    The survey also found that Canadians reported spending less this past
holiday season than in previous years. While half (51%) say that they spent
about the same amount on holiday-related purchases in 2008 as they did during
the 2007 holiday season, 34 per cent say they spent less in 2008, and only 14
per cent say they spent more.
    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 1,014 nationally
representative Canadian adults were interviewed between January 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 is a global market information and insight group.
    Its strategic goal is to be recognized as the global leader in delivering
value-added information and insights that help its clients make more effective
business decisions.
    TNS delivers innovative thinking and excellent service across a network
of 80 countries. Working in partnership with clients, TNS provides
high-quality information, analysis and insight that improve understanding of
consumer behaviour.
    TNS is the world's leading provider of customized services, combining
sector knowledge with expertise in the areas of Product Development &
Innovation, Brand & Communications, Stakeholder Management, Retail & Shopper.
TNS is a major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and audience
measurement services.

    
    TNS is the sixth sense of business(TM).

    www.tnsglobal.com

    The Kantar Group
    

    The Kantar Group is one of the world's largest research, insight and
consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of more than 20
specialist companies - including the recently-acquired TNS - the group aims to
become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and actionable insights for the
global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 80 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. The Kantar Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP Group
plc. For further information, please visit www.kantargrouptns.com.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Richard W. Jenkins, Vice
President, Corporate Director, Public Opinion Research, Tel: (613) 230-4408
x101, e-mail: richard.jenkins@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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