Canadian consumer confidence shifting to ambivalence from negativity; TNS Canada's latest Consumer Confidence Index rose 1.5 points to end October at 96.3

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Oct 22, 2010 – CNW

TORONTO , October 22, 2010 (press release) – Canadians continue to waver on the consumer confidence front. Last month all indicators turned negative. This month the future brightened while the present stayed dark. Overall, though, the results of TNS Canada's most recent Consumer Confidence Index showed that the future outweighed the present. The index rose 1.5 points, erasing a shade less than two-thirds of September's loss, to end October at 96.3.

"Continued consumer negativity surrounding present indicators suggests again that the quick Keynesian fixes aren't going to ignite any economic turnaround," said Dr. Michael Antecol, vice-president of TNS Canada and director of the marketing research firm's monthly tracking study. "But the volte-face on future indicators does have that fire-starting potential. That means Canadians are both positive and negative when it comes to the economy, and that kind of ambivalence is akin to having wet gun powder."

The Present Situation Index, which captures evaluations of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, was the only one of the three indices to remain in negative territory. It ended the month at 91.4 - down 0.7 points from September's 92.1 and 1.9 points from August's 93.3.

The two future-oriented confidence indices reversed course, swinging back to positive territory in the past month. The Expectations Index, which measures consumers' estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months, gained 2.0 points, rising from 102.3 in September to 104.3 in October - an amount still not enough to offset September's 3.5-point drop. Likewise, the Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, popped up to 95.0 points - up 4.2 points from September's 90.8 close.

"It's a bit like the Hokey-Pokey - Canadian consumers keep cautiously testing the economic waters with one foot then the other. But they don't seem ready to commit, not quite yet. Maybe they would be more amenable if they felt the strong arm of long-term economic leadership rather than short-sighted stimulus and its tax-and-grab corollary," added Dr. Antecol.

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 October 12 and 15, 2010. 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.

TNS Canada (www.tns-cf.com) is one of Canada's most prestigious full-service marketing, opinion and social research organizations.

About TNS

TNS, who recently merged with Research International, is the world's largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 70 countries, TNS is part of the Kantar Group. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy networks. 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 26,500 employees work across 95 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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