Canadian retailers may have reason to be cautiously optimistic as they head into the new year. According to the December survey by TNS, the Canadian arm of TNS Global, consumer confidence is holding steady. The report suggests the Canadian confidence index lost only 0.3 points, moving from 98.9 to 98.6, a difference too small to represent a statistically significant change.
"The confidence which has been building since the summer is remaining stable," said Norman Baillie-David, senior vice president of TNS in Canada and director of the marketing and social research firm's monthly tracking study. Consumers' faith would appear to be relatively immune to fiscal troubles abroad and in the U.S. "Despite the uncertainty, Canadians continue to feel confident that the economic situation is basically under control."
The Buy Index, measuring Canadians' belief that now is a good time to buy a big ticket item including cars or major household appliances, showed a slight but expected drop this month. The measure moved from 92.8 to 92.1 points as Canadians put off big purchases in favour of holiday spending.
The present situation index – a measure of how Canadians feel about the economy right now – remained virtually unchanged, rising only one-tenth of 1% from 101.1 to 101.2.
The Expectations Index, which measures Canadians' outlook for the economy six months from now, saw a slight drop of 0.6 points, moving from 102.2 to 101.6. Even with the decline, the December figure is still more than two points higher than October's measure, part of a rising trend that began in early summer.
"Notwithstanding the slight drop this month, Canadians are showing an increasing optimism that they will be better off economically six months from now than they are today. This should translate well into 2013," said Baillie-David.