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Canadians pessimistic, reluctant to open wallets


December 16, 2011
By Canadian Pizza

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Canadians pessimistic, reluctant to open wallets
As the end of the year draws nearer, Canadians are doubtful about job prospects, their personal finances and whether it’s wise to spend money right now, a Nielsen survey reports.

December 16, 2011, Toronto – As the end of the year draws nearer,
Canadians are doubtful about job prospects, their personal finances and
whether it’s wise to spend money right now, a Nielsen survey reports.

The Global Consumer Confidence Survey, established in 2005, tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.

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Consumer confidence fell globally from 89 to 88, down for the seventh consecutive quarter.

“We’ve been on a roller-coaster ride, with a lot of ups and downs and screaming along the way and the ride is not over yet,” said Carman Allison, Nielsen's director of consumer insights. “We’re about to hit another turn.”

Employment is up – but so is pessimism

A key component of national confidence is how Canadians perceive the job market. Fifty-four per cent rated job prospects as good or excellent. That's better than the global average (43 per cent), but down from 58 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

Canadians also continue to grow more negative about how they view their personal finances. Globally, 51 per cent of respondents felt good or excellent about the state of their finances over the next 12 months. That’s up one per cent from the second quarter results.

Yet Canada trends in the opposite direction, with 54 per cent of Canadian respondents rating their finances as good or excellent, down from 61 per cent just three months earlier.

“Canadians may be feeling more optimistic than the global average, amidst some positive economic trends in this country over the past year. Yet a combination of recent factors, such as rising prices of goods, stock market turbulence and bad economic news from the U.S. and Europe, are affecting consumer confidence,” noted Allison.

Discretionary spending flat

When asked what they are doing with spare cash, 37 per cent of Canadians said they direct spare cash to paying off debts and another 30 per cent pour it into savings.

“Households are showing increasing fiscal responsibility. Spending is also hampered by this new reality; almost one-quarter of consumers (23 per cent) report that no spending money remains after they’ve paid for the essentials,” Allison said.

The Nielsen Global Omnibus Survey was conducted between Aug. 30 and Sept. 16. The survey polled  online consumers in countries throughout North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The survey has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6 per cent.