Confessions of (somewhat) rattled consumers

According to a survey by global market research firm Synovate, Canadians will still treat themselves in a dire economy.

Compared to their global peers, Canadian shoppers seem relatively calm in the face of the economic crisis, according to survey data released this month by global market intelligence firm Synovate. Titled Economy and Prices, the survey, which includes more than 11,500 interviews across 18 countries, shows that despite being worried about the economy, 64% agree with the statement ‘I will always find a way to afford some items that make me feel good.’ While people around the world said they were most concerned with losing their jobs, the biggest worry for Canadians (23%) was losing money from their investments, and 25% claimed that while they’re worried, they ‘just can’t stop spending.’

‘There are people that will still allow themselves little luxuries like perfume, new music or whatever,’ says Mike Sherman, Synovate’s global director of Knowledge Management.

But that isn’t to say Canadians are oblivious to economic realities – 54% think the economy will only get worse. Most of those concerned were between 45 and 64 years old, and with an average annual income of $50,000 or more.

Just over half (53%) of those surveyed said they cut down on their spending on impulse items, 52% said they are avoiding ‘luxury’ items while 42% said they are comparing prices before making a decision. Budget cuts have affected all types beverage purchases – alcohol, soft drinks, bottled water and coffee or tea are in the top five items Canadians said they have spent less on. There is also a general acceptance of giving up brand name preferences – cigarettes (31%) were the top item for which Canadians have switched to a cheaper brand, followed by canned goods (21%), laundry and cleaning products (20%), bottled water (19%) and staple food items (18%).

When asked about what they would cut in the future, going out for meals and giving up holidays were are at the top of the list, while there is a reluctance to give up gift giving, high-tech gadgets and branded appliances.