Consumer confidence is at its highest level since July 2011, and Canadians appear ready to spend entering the key holiday sales period, says marketing and social research firm TNS.
The TNS Canadian Consumer Confidence Index rose to 98.9 from 98.0 in November, and senior vice-president and study director Norman Baillie David said that consumers feel confident the country’s economic situation is “basically under control.”
The so-called “Present Situation Index,” which determines how people feel about the economy right now, also rose from 99.6 to 101.1 – its highest point in four years. Baillie David said the results are a clear indication that Canadians are translating Barack Obama’s win in the recent U.S. presidential election into feeling good about the economy.
The Buy Index, which determines how Canadians regard the suggestion that now is a good time to purchase a big-ticket item such as a car or major appliance, took an expected dip – from 94.5 to 92.8 – as people begin to focus more on holiday gift giving.
However, TNS said confidence and optimism is spilling over into Canadians’ holiday shopping plans. Canadians intend to spend an average of $865 on the holidays this year, almost $100 more than 2011 and the highest amount since 2009.
The percentage of Canadians indicating they will spend more this year has risen from 8% in 2009 to 15% this year, while the number of people who claim they will be spending less has gone down from 32% in 2008 to just 23% this year.
“Retailers should see a good year in 2012,” said Baillie-David. “Consumers are feeling better about the economy than they have for some time, and they are going into the holidays clearly in a spending mood.”
The Consumer Confidence Index gauges Canadians’ attitudes about the economy each month, and is part of an ongoing study conducted by TNS in 18 countries. The Canadian results are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 Canadians conducted from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15 and are considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1% 19 times out of 20.