'Potentialist' Group On The Rise As Canadian Optimism Improves

American Express Research Finds Travel Tops Majority of 'Potential Lists' as Canadians Look for Ways to Realize Their Potential

TORONTO, March 2 /CNW/ - Meet Canada's newest group of citizens: the Potentialists. This Potentialist group - individuals spanning a variety of demographics who embrace the notion of actively living more enriched lives - is on the rise in Canada, according to a study commissioned by American Express that reveals some unique insights into the way Canadians think about life.(1) First identified in an American Express study conducted in October 2009, the number of Potentialists in Canada has risen from 28% to 31%, a sign that more people are taking the time to identify their passions and realize their potential.

Because living as a Potentialist means more than simply checking off boxes for places seen and activities completed, many Potentialists and non-Potentialists are currently devoting much consideration to their passions, even to the point of developing a 'Potential List'. A Potential List formally identifies and outlines the life-enriching things a person wants to experience during his or her lifetime. According to the survey, more than a third of Canadians (38%) actively have a Potential List, and nearly everyone in this group (94%) predicts they will accomplish all or some of the goals they have set out for themselves. Topping the items included in Canadians' Potential Lists are travel (77%), philanthropy (41%), learn a new language (32%) and living in a different country (32%) - all activities that align with priorities previously identified by Potentialists to actively live an enriching life.

"It's exciting to see growth in the number of Potentialists in Canada," said Jeremy Gutsche, innovation expert, author of Exploiting Chaos, founder of TrendHunter.com and a consultant on the project. "The last year was a game-changer for many Canadians, and people really took the time to evaluate their priorities and their values, and what we're seeing is that great experiences and quality time with family and friends trumps monetary success as even more people embrace the Potentialist ethos."

Interestingly, when comparing the statistics from September 2009 and now, this gap has grown even wider. In September, when asked to prioritize aspects of their lives, nearly half of Canadians (45%) said that time with family and friends is on top, while monetary and career success were less important (9% and 7% respectively). The current survey has found that time with family and friends has risen in importance to 54%, with monetary success and career success actually dropping in importance to 6% and 3% respectively.

"Our current ad campaign encourages people to realize their potential, and it's encouraging to see - even over such a short period of time - that Canadians are reflecting this attitude by genuinely moving towards becoming a part of this Potentialist class," said David Barnes, VP Communications at American Express Canada. "We're seeing people take action on their dreams to make them a reality and truly enrich their lives, and American Express is there to help make this happen."

Some Research Highlights:

    -  Potentialists tend to be more optimistic than other Canadians (56% as
       compared with 46%), and are more satisfied (92% compared to 78%) with
       what they currently have.
    -  Potentialists are more likely than non-Potentialists to have a
       Potential List (46% compared with 38%), and the propensity to have
       Potential List is highest among women (44% compared with 33% of men).
    -  More than a fifth of Canadians would like to go in a hot air balloon
       (20%), take a cooking class (22%), attend an international sporting
       event (23%) or write a book or a novel (29%).
    -  For the most part, Canadians perceive their lives to be full and are
       happy, with 89% agreeing they are generally happy with their lives.
       Additionally, 82% want their lives to be full of new experiences.

Methodology Details

From January 21 to January 25 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey on behalf of American Express among Canadian adults who have a household income of +$50,000 and live outside of Quebec. 1,001 Canadian adults were surveyed. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/-3.1%, nineteen times out of twenty. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and region Census data to ensure a representative sample. Canadians were recruited from the Angus Reid Forum, Canada's leading on-line national access panel. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding

About Angus Reid Strategies

Angus Reid Strategies' polls are conducted using Canada's premier online panel, Angus Reid Forum (www.angusreidforum.com), which is recruited via an industry-leading process that incorporates a randomized, widespread invitation approach and a triple opt-in screening procedure. The panel is maintained through state-of-the-art sampling techniques and frequent verifications of personal identity, contact information and demographic characteristics. This premier online survey platform presents respondents with highly visual, interactive, and engaging surveys, ensuring that panel members provide thoughtful and reliable responses.

About American Express in Canada

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express Cards in Canada. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel, Travel Services Network and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.

(1) The survey included Canadians who earn a household income of $50,000 or more and live outside of Québec. In this release, we refer to the those included in the sample as "Canadians" or "Canada".

SOURCE American Express

For further information: For further information: on the statistics or to speak to a Canadian living a Potentialist lifestyle, please contact: Najat Mahammed on behalf of American Express Canada, Tel: (416) 644-2240, Email: nmahammed@breespr.com; Jessica Myers, Tel: (905) 474-8792, Email: Jessica.Myers@aexp.com

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