Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Consumer confidence continues to rise

Steady increase a notable improvement on 2012 levels

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In the fourth quarter of this year the Investors Group-Harris Decima Index of Consumer Confidence hit the highest point it's reached since the first quarter of 2011.

The consumer-confidence index has been steadily rising all year starting at 77.6 in the first quarter of this year, moving to 79.7 in the second quarter, 81.2 in the third, and finally ending the year at 84.4 in the fourth quarter.

This year's steady increase in consumers' sense of well-being is much different than the guarded state of affairs that existed in 2012 when consumer confidence remained static for the final three quarters of the year.

According to Allan Gregg, chairman of Harris Decima, "Consumer confidence rose throughout 2013 in every region of the country. Perhaps as importantly, regional differences in outlook also became less pronounced, suggesting that all parts of the country (although somewhat less so in Quebec) are sensing that the economy is on the rise and that better times are ahead."

"The gradual improvement of consumer confidence in Canada appears to reflect the slow-but-steady growth in the Canadian economy," said Gaetan Ruest, vice-president product and corporate research at Investors Group. "This is an encouraging way to wind up 2013 and look forward to a new year."

Consumer confidence remained upbeat in Manitoba and Saskatchewan throughout 2013. The index began the year at 85.2 in the first quarter and would jump to 90.8 in the second quarter. It would drop to 83.9 in the third quarter, before rebounding to 90.7 in the fourth.

It was the second-strongest region in the country only surpassed, not surprisingly, by Alberta.

The index began the year at 84.7 in Alberta, before dipping slightly to 81.9 in the second quarter. The index would surge to 91.0 in the third quarter, rising again to 95.0 in November.

In Atlantic Canada, consumer confidence began the year on a low note with the index standing at 68.6 in the first quarter. However, it would surge to 80.5 in the second quarter and hold steady the remainder of the year. In the third quarter, the index stood at 79.0 and would end the year at 81.5 in November.

In Quebec, the consumer confidence index stood at 77.8 in the first quarter and moved up to 79.9 in the second quarter. It dipped slightly to 78.8 in the third quarter before ending the year at 80.3.

Consumer confidence in Ontario stayed in line with the national average most of the year. It began the year at 78.1 remaining steady in the second quarter when it stood at 78.4. It moved to 80.9 in the third quarter and then up to 85.0 in the fourth quarter.

Confidence rose throughout 2013 in B.C. After beginning the year at 70.5, the index jumped to 77.5 in May. The index would end the year at 79.7 in two consecutive quarters in August and November.

Data were collected using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) via the Harris/Decima teleVox omnibus. Overall, 2,018 completed surveys were collected nationally between Nov. 21 and Dec. 1, 2013. The sample consists of 80 per cent land line and 20 per cent cellphone respondents, with quotas by gender (50/50 split) and by region. The data is weighted in tabulation to replicate actual population distribution by age and gender within region according to the 2011 Census data. This survey is considered accurate to a margin of plus or minus 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 31, 2013 B6

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