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Consumer confidence plummets as COVID-19 fears spread

Ottawa, Ontario, March 18, 2020 – The Conference Board of Canada releases its Index of consumer confidence for March 2020. Amid COVID-19 fears, the index fell 32.0 points in March, the largest monthly decline ever.

“COVID-19 is causing anxiety in Canadians and this has implications for Canada’s economy given that consumers have been the main engine of economic growth, says Pedro Antunes, Chief Economist for The Conference Board of Canada. “With many people self isolating, large gatherings mostly cancelled and tourism activity drying up, many Canadians are staying home, which will have a profound impact on economic growth.”

Sample findings:

  • There were no positives in this month’s survey – every region saw a double-digit decline in confidence and every question saw a significant weakening in responses.
  • Atlantic Canada and Quebec each saw their largest monthly declines ever. Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan-Manitoba all saw their second largest, while Alberta saw its fourth largest.
  • Views geared towards the future were especially weak. The share of respondents who expect their finances to worsen reached the third highest level ever.

In order to provide timely insights and analysis on COVID-19, this month, the Index of consumer index is available for free. To read the full report, go to our site here. Please visit our site for more evidence-based perspective on COVID-19.

About the Index of consumer confidence

The consumer confidence survey has been ongoing since 1960. It is conducted monthly by The Conference Board of Canada and is administered by Leger.

The Index of consumer confidence is constructed from responses to four attitudinal questions posed to a sample of Canadian households. Those surveyed are asked to give their views about their households’ current and expected financial positions and the short-term employment outlook. They are also asked to assess whether now is a good or a bad time to make a major purchase such as a house, a car, or other big-ticket items.

The latest results are based on responses to our online survey of over 3,000 Canadians.

Disclaimer: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created uncertainty in all global markets. We’re doing our best to provide timely updates, but information can fall out of date quickly. All products related to our COVID-19 coverage will be available for free on our website. To access them, go to ConferenceBoard.ca. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of The Conference Board of Canada.

About The Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada is Canada’s foremost independent, non-partisan, and evidenced-based applied research organization.  We equip leaders and decision-makers with the economic reports, custom research, data, networks and events they need to solve our country’s most pressing challenges. Our focus areas include Canadian Economics, Energy & Environment, Innovation & Technology, Immigration and more. We stand at the intersection of research and policy, where insights meet impact.

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