Consumer confidence shows signs of life
Feb. 23, 2009, Ottawa – The overall index of Consumer Confidence in
the economy rose in the period from December to February to 67.0, the highest
the index has been since August 2008, according to a Harris/Decima survey.
In the U.S., the index did not see the same bounce
as in Canada, inching only slightly upward to 61.2. The most significant jump
in optimism was on the question of how Canadians felt they'd be doing
financially a year from now. Twice as many people feel they'll be better off
than worse off (27 per cent to 13 per cent). This is an improvement from December results when 20 per cent
felt they'd be better off, while 18 per cent felt they'd be worse off.
Canadians are also more amenable to making a major purchase.
In December, 35 per cent thought it was a good time to make a major purchase, while
half (50 per cent) thought it was a bad time. Today opinion is virtually even, with 41 per cent
feeling now is a good time to make a major purchase and 43 per cent feeling it is a bad
time to do so.
Pessimism about the economic outlook for the coming year
decreased slightly. While a majority (59 per cent) still foresee bad times for the economy
in the coming year, this was down from the 64 per cent who answered in kind in the
December survey. One-in-ten (10 per cent) see good times ahead for the economy in the
next 12 months.
The number of Canadians who say they are worse off today
than they were last year, remained relatively steady at 27 per cent, down a point from the
December survey. Once again, people are far more likely to say they are doing
about the same financially as they were last year (57 per cent). Thirteen per cent feel they are
better off financially compared to a year ago, relatively unchanged since
According to Harris/Decima senior vice-president Jeff
Walker, "Some Canadians appear to be seeing light at the end of the
economic tunnel, as both the one year and five year outlook results have improved
this quarter. The roller-coaster ride may not be over yet, but the
data suggests many feel that we have hit bottom, and will gradually move upward
"Restored consumer confidence is an important factor in
any potential economic recovery", said Debbie Ammeter, vice-president of
Advanced Financial Planning at Investors Group. "It is interesting to note
that Canadians seem to recognize that things could be difficult for most of
this year but yet there appears to be more who believe that they will be better
off a year from now."
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