Canadian consumer confidence increased three index points in the fourth quarter of 2013, reaching the baseline score of 100, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence. The quarterly uptick equalized two previous quarters of declines, bringing the figure in line with the sentiment of 12 months ago. Improved job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions were strong drivers of the hike in consumer confidence for Canadians.
“Canadians were more optimistic about their finances in the fourth quarter and took advantage of cross-border shopping in the U.S.,” said Carman Allison, vice president, Consumer Insights, Nielsen Canada. “In order to keep spending in Canada, many retailers implemented U.S.-based promotions such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday to jump start the holiday season, which translated to an increase in overall retail sales of 3.5 percent compared to last year. While consumer volatility remains, lower unemployment and inflation contributed to the optimistic sentiment among Canadians.”
Canada’s neighbors to the south, however, were less optimistic. U.S. consumer confidence declined four index points in the fourth quarter of 2013 landing at a score of 94. Though confidence declined for the quarter, sentiment was still up one point from the start of the year (Q1 2013) and five points from the same time period the previous year (Q4 2012). With the recession still firmly on the minds of nearly three-quarters (71%) of Americans, fourth-quarter discretionary spending intentions also retreated from the gains reported in Q3, declining 7 percentage points for buying new clothes (24%) and paying off debt, credit cards and loans (31%).
“While U.S. consumer confidence declined in the fourth quarter, the country is poised to be the key growth engine of the world economy,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “One of the biggest challenges for the U.S. consumer will be getting wages and incomes to grow to support consumer demand, especially for the middle class.”
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For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Q4 2013 Global Consumer Confidence Report.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted Nov. 11-29, 2013 and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or 10 milliononline population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.