Canadians' Consumer Confidence Halts Downward Trend But Buyers Still Not in Holiday Spending Mood: Survey

TORONTO, Nov. 24, 2011 /CNW/ - After six months of continuous decline, Canadians' confidence in the economy ticked up very slightly, rising less than a point from 95.2 to 96.0.

"This is likely just a statistical blip; certainly not enough to say that the downward trend in confidence has ended." said Norman Baillie-David, Vice President of TNS Canada and Director of the marketing and social research firm's monthly tracking study.  The good news is that at least this shows that the continuing uncertainty in Europe and the US is not doing any more major damage to confidence.  In other words, this isn't perhaps the bad news about confidence that we may have been expecting, but it isn't a good news story, at least not yet."

The Present Situation Index, which measures how people feel about the economy right now, rose 1.8 points, from 94.5 to 96.3, This indicates that despite continuing gloomy economic news and uncertain prospects, Canadians are looking around and saying to themselves: "things may be going crazy everywhere else, but my own situation right now is still not that bad."

The Expectations Index, which measures people's outlook for the economy six months from now, rose by 1.5 points from 98.0 to 99.5.  "Continuing uncertainty is making Canadians…well…uncertain."  There doesn't seem to be any consistent pattern, showing that Canadians really don't know what to make of their prospects six months down the road." added Mr. Baillie-David.

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, bucked the trend of the other indices 93.4 to 92.1, continuing the "up and down" pattern from month to month, and showing that Canadians can't make up their collective minds as to whether or not now is a good time to purchase.  However, with the holiday season around the corner, this does not provide much optimism that consumers will spend big.

The Biggest Holiday Spenders are the ones Cutting Back this Year

In November and December of every year, we add two questions to our confidence survey regarding Canadians' spending intentions for the holiday season.  This year, Canadians overall are planning to spend less than last year, continuing a downward trend which began in 2008.  On average, Canadians say they are willing to spend $776 dollars this year, compared to $812 last year (2010), and $866 in 2009.  While most Canadians say they are likely to spend about the same as last year (59%), it is the proportion of Canadians who normally intend to spend the most (at $2,000 or more) which has dropped most significantly, causing the average overall intended spend to fall.  Last year 12% of Canadians fell into this group, and this has dropped to 9% (which is actually a 25% decrease in this number).

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 November 14 and November 18, 2011.  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

TNS Canada (formerly known as TNS Canadian Facts) is the Canadian arm of TNS. 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.

About Kantar

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.

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SOURCE TNS Canadian Facts

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on these results please contact:

Norman Baillie-David  
Vice President  
(613) 230-4408 x101

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