TORONTO, October 1, 2010 — Canadian confidence dropped significantly, reflecting concerns over the pace of the global economic recovery, according to the September RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index. After hovering around the same mark since December 2009, the overall Index fell 14 points from 108 to 94, driven by declines in all three sub-indexes that comprise the Consumer Outlook Index: current conditions, expectations, and personal investments.
While six-in-ten Canadians (60 per cent) believe the overall economic outlook is good, this is down seven points from last quarter. Job anxiety, at 22 per cent, is up two points from last quarter but still below its high of 27 per cent in November 2009. Looking ahead to the next year, fewer Canadians (46 per cent) now think that the national economy will improve (down nine points from three months ago).
Debt management continues to weigh on the minds of consumers. Half of Canadians (51 per cent) say they are focusing on reducing their debt over the next year or so, while four-in-ten (39 per cent) say they plan on spending less.
"It's good to see people focused on debt management and reduction," said Andrea Bolger, senior vice-president, Personal Financing Products, RBC. "It's important that Canadians feel confident and understand that managing debt is crucial to their financial success."
While most Canadians (78 per cent) indicated they don't undertake an official credit/debt review on a yearly basis, a majority (60 per cent) say they keep close track of their debt. Forty one per cent of Canadians are confident that they are managing their debt well and 17 per cent say they're just keeping their head above water.
"Regularly reviewing your borrowing needs and credit situation while building your assets with the help of an RBC advisor is key to staying on top of your finances and ensuring your goals are being met," added Bolger.
Other national highlights include:
"The uncertain and uneven global economic outlook has not gone unnoticed by consumers, translating to heightened anxiety and weaker confidence," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "The continued uncertainty and uneven recovery was one of the factors contributing to us downgrading our 2010 forecast, expecting GDP growth of 3.3 per cent, down from 3.6 per cent projected last quarter."
RBC provides advice and tools to help clients manage their debt including the following credit principles:
Whether Canadians want to borrow with confidence, get more
from their everyday banking, protect what's important, save
and invest or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice
can help answer their questions. Advice videos are updated
regularly to reflect current trends and to answer the questions
that are top of mind with Canadians. Interactive tools and
calculators provide customized information covering many facets
of personal finance. With the guidance of RBC advisors who
are available to chat live, Canadians have access to free,
no-obligation professional advice about RBC products and services
and personalized one-on-one service. In addition, all personal
RBC online banking clients have access, at no cost, to myFinance
RBC's new online financial management tool, and will enable
them to create a set budget and track their spending habits.
About The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook
The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, benchmarked as of November 2009, is conducted online via Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel to 4,292 Canadians (642 British Columbia, 473 Alberta, 500 Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 1,360 Ontario, 848 Quebec, 469 Atlantic Canada). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Data collection was September 1-9, 2010. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled.
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For more information, please contact:
RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-2727
RBC Media Relations, (416) 974-5506