Global consumer outlook flat: Ipsos

A new mid-year survey by the global research firm indicates that although Canada fares well when it comes to consumer confidence, the international picture remains uncertain.

Although a number of alphabet letters have been tossed around when it comes to recession recovery predictions – U, V and W – Ipsos Reid is assigning it a letter it says it didn’t quite expect: L.

Thanks to a drop, followed by a slight uptick in late 2009, and now a flatline, an L-shaped recovery is the reality many countries around the world are facing, a new survey from the global research firm states. The danger of this type of recovery, it warns, is that recession-era habits will become ingrained in consumers’ psyches as temporary economic coping behaviours turn into permanent ones.

According to the report, which surveyed 18,594 adults around the world from June 7 to 20, 2010, consumers’ outlook on the Canadian economy is quite high. When asked to assess the economic situation in their country, 68% of Canadians polled said they thought it was somewhat good or very good. Canada was only outranked in this assessment by India, China, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Canada was also among less than half of the 24 counties included in the survey that experienced improvement in consumers’ assessment of their economies, tying with Turkey for third-highest on the list with a four-point increase. Argentina ranked first with a 12-point increase, while South Africa ranked second with a five-point increase.

Canada’s consumer outlook was also quite sunny when compared to other G8 nations; its positive consumer outlook was almost double that of its next-closest G8 companion, Germany, and far above the US, for which only 18% of those polled said the current economic situation was very good or somewhat good.

In summary, the report noted, there is no sign of a global recovery based on the citizen assessments and there is a danger of more and more countries ‘becoming mired in a sense of economic stagnation.’ Canada, it noted, is one of the ‘stars lifting up the dogs’ by way of its proximity to the down-and-out US market: ‘The lesson here,’ it noted, ‘[is to] take nothing for granted and look at individual countries inside the regional envelopes.’