Consumer Confidence Sees Strong Growth in 2009

CALGARY, Dec. 29 /CNW/ - The latest Harris/Decima-Investor's Group Measure of Consumer Confidence wraps up the trends of 2009:

    
    -   In Canada, consumer confidence saw a period of strong growth during
        2009. After a slow start due to the economic uncertainties coming out
        of the fall of 2008, the Harris/Decima-Investors Group consumer
        confidence index began to rise in the 2nd quarter, before reaching a
        high of 86.5 in August and leveling out at 85.5 in November. Consumer
        confidence in Canada was decidedly more positive than in the United
        States.
    -   Over 2009, the strength of consumer confidence was in Alberta, where
        confidence levels remained above the national average for the whole
        of the year. At year's end, the measure of consumer confidence stood
        at 90.7 more than 5 points higher than the national average. In the
        other Prairie provinces, consumer confidence also was higher than
        average.
    -   Across gender lines, men spent 2009 more confident than women
        regarding the economy. By year's end, the measure among men stood at
        87.7, while among women it was 5 points lower at 82.7
    -   There was a clear divide across age demographics during 2009, with
        those under the age of 35 showing significantly more confidence than
        those older over the course of the year. They started the year with a
        measure of 70.2 in the first quarter, and reached a level of 93.2 by
        years end.
    -   As 2009 developed, consumer confidence among income groups shifted.
        While quarter one tended to find widespread pessimism about the state
        of the economy, with all income groups being relatively close in
        their levels of confidence, the months to come would see higher
        income earners, both in the $60k-$100k group and the $100k+ group
        become more confident. While those making less than $60k/year saw
        their levels of confidence grow as well, it was not as dramatic a
        shift as among other income earners. This was particularly true among
        the highest income earners who started the year with a measure of
        70.7 and were at 96.1 by the fourth quarter.
    

According to Senior Vice-President Doug Anderson "The year began during one of the least confident phases since Harris-Decima and Investors Group has been recording Canadian consumer confidence. However, the closing quarters have shown that Canadians have some optimism for their financial future -- certainly considerably more than found in the US."

"Consumer confidence is an important factor in fuelling and sustaining the economic recovery," said Jack Courtney, Assistant Vice-President of Advanced Financial Planning at Investors Group. "It is also important to recognize that having a comprehensive personal financial plan is a great benefit to continued personal financial confidence over the longer term."

Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey. For each wave of the Harris/Decima and Investors Group measure of consumer confidence, data was collected over two weeks for just over 2,000 completes, and a margin of error of 2.2% 19 times out of 20. In 2009, waves were conducted in February, June, August and November.

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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