Consumer confidence hits April slump: study

The latest Consumer Confidence Index from TNS shows that consumers are feeling pessimistic about the economy and the future.
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Weighed down by worries over housing and jobs, Canadians’ confidence in the state of the economy dropped sharply in April, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index from Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).

Overall consumer confidence sunk to 94.4 from 96.5 between March and April, its lowest point since July 2012, according to the study, which uses a base score of 100, with scores below signalling that consumers feel less confident than usual, and scores above suggesting they feel more confident.

The present situation index, which measures how consumers currently feel about the economy was hit hardest, dropping 4.6 points to 92.7 and hitting its lowest point since February, 2012.

“Canadians’ confidence in the economy is slipping quickly back to lows that we haven’t seen since the [2008] recession,” said Norman Baillie David, SVP, TNS Canada, in a release. “The continued environment of public sector austerity, combined with high consumer debt, a deliberately slowing housing market and poor job prospects are all combining to create a perfect storm of pessimism.”

The expectations index, which measures people’s outlooks for the economy six months from now, also saw a slight dip to 99 from 101.1.

Meanwhile, despite the overall gloomy outlook, the buy index, which examines consumers’ willingness to make big ticket purchases, rose 1.2 points to 92.2.

“This probably reflects some pent-up demand, as well as the beginning of spring and some normal spending on seasonal renovations and upgrades.” said Baillie-David.

The Consumer Confidence Index was conducted using a sample of 1,015 Canadians collected between April 8 and 11 using TNS’s bi-weekly telephone omnibus service. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.