Around the world, consumers are increasingly convinced that the recession has ended. But while their willingness to spend may remain cautious, their overall optimism about the state of their finances and the economy has increased in most countries. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Canada, where in the fourth quarter of 2009, consumer confidence increased four points over the previous quarter and 14 points since April 2009, boosting the country into the top ten, according to the latest edition of the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index.
With an index score of 98, Canada beats the global average by 11 points and bests its southern neighbor by 16 points. In fact, Canada is one of only two countries in the top ten outside of Asia (the other being Brazil).
“Over the past six months, Canadian consumers have stopped talking about recession and changed the conversation to recovery,” said Carman Allison, Marketing and Communications Director, Nielsen Canada. “We’re more optimistic about our job prospects and personal finances, and are ready to open our wallets and put the recession behind us.”
So how has this renewed confidence manifest itself? Canadians are more likely to pay off debt (39% vs. 31% globally) and much less likely to save or invest in the markets (27% vs. 49% globally). Interestingly, the high level of confidence contrasts with the fact that 70 percent of Canadians still believe that their economy was in recession, despite the fact that the Bank of Canada declared it technically over last summer. But 40 percent believe that Canada will be out of recession in 2010.
Concerns remain. The top three issues were increasing utility bills, personal debt and the economy. Canadians – and Americans – are much more worried about debt than the rest of the world (13% compared to just 7% globally).
“Even while showing faith that we are in recovery mode, Canadians are planning to retain some frugal habits. Economists expect this to be a slow recovery, so consumers will continue to seek value and look for ways to stretch their shopping dollars in the near term and perhaps even longer into the future,” concluded Allison.
Download the report on Canadian Consumer Confidence.