Windsor Star

Consumers plan to save like Scrooge this Xmas


OTTAWA Canadian consumers plan to “sit on their wallets” this holiday season as concern over the pace of economic recovery persists, according to a national survey.

“Two months ago all indicators turned negative. Last month, the future brightened while the present stayed dark. And this month, the indicators remained mixed, “TNSCanada, a marketing and research group, said Friday.

“Not surprising­ly, Canadians are indicating this will be the lowest spending holiday-spending season since 2005.”

TNS said its overall consumer index survey was “essentiall­y flat,” rising just 1.3 points this month.

The group’s Present Situation Index, which captures evaluation­s of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, rose 2.1 points to a reading of 93.5 in November, after two consecutiv­e monthly declines.

The Expectatio­ns Index, which measures consumers’ estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months, reversed a four-month decline, rising 1.4 points to 105.7.

“The gain was a nice complement to October’s two-point gain, “TNS said. “Still, both increases were not quite enough to offset September’s 3.5-point drop.”

The Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, “had its positive momentum stopped cold” at 95.1, up only 0.1 points from October.

“ Canadians remain ambivalent about the economy,” said Michael Antecol, vice-president of TNS Canada, adding that consumers are saying “they plan to sit on their wallets this holiday season. . . . Expect deep price drops. Expect them soon.”

On the topic of holiday spending, respondent­s said they plan to spend $812 this year, down from $866 last year.

TNS said the survey results are the lowest since 2005 when consumers said they were spending $782 over that holiday season.

TNS said it polled 1,015 Canadians between Nov. 8 and 14. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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