Vision Critical

Vision Critical

March 24, 2010 08:00 ET

Vision Critical Finds Consumer Spending at Lowest Level in Over a Year

Monthly retail study reveals consumer spending in Canada is down 4% over the same time last year

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2010) - Canadian consumer retail spending took a drop in February, down 2.7% over January spending – and down 4% over last February – the lowest level since tracking began in January, 2009. That's according to Vision Critical's Retail Vision, the company's monthly study that tracks the state of the Canadian retail market. Retail Vision measures consumer involvement and spending across 12 key retail categories, with results based on monthly national online surveys with 1,000 randomly selected Canadian adults.

Specific retail categories trending downwards in February include home electronics, furniture and major appliances, sporting goods and physical recreation products, men's apparel and home improvement products.

"Many are saying the recession is over, but it's still a little early to see a big about-face in consumer spending," says David Gardner, Vice President of Vision Critical's Retail practice. "While the consumer outlook is more optimistic, actual behaviour shows some hesitation."

When asked how they would rate Canada's current economic conditions, a majority of consumers (52%) answered "Good/Very Good", compared with just 47% responding the same way, a month prior. When asked whether they believed the Canadian economy would "improve", "remain the same" or "decline" over the next three months, 58% favoured "remain the same" – up 2% over the same answer in January.

Retail Spending across all Households by Category: Mean Spend

  Feb '09 Dec '09 Jan '10 Feb '10
Food and groceries $360.80 $367.80 $345.90 $357.40
Furniture/major appliances $71.20 $89.90 $89.90 $78.90
Women's apparel* $66.40 $89.80 $58.40 $69.20
Computers/ software/access $59.30 $94.30 $51.70 $56.50
Home electronics $44.70 $122.40 $63.70 $37.10
Men's apparel* $41.70 $64.70 $44.80 $38.80
Books/movies/ music/games $31.40 $56.00 $29.60 $29.70
Kitchen/bathroom/bedding/ home décor $33.60 $35.30 $27.20 $31.90
Sporting goods/physical recreation products $39.10 $31.80 $29.10 $22.90
Seasonal/outdoor products $13.90 $22.50 $11.60 $8.90
Home improvement products --** $76.30 $78.20 $54.30
Out of home entertainment --** $106.20 $110.30 $117.50
*Data reflects spending among relevant gender only.
**Tracking for these categories began in July 2009.

In addition to measuring consumer spending, Retail Vision includes consumer predictions on the forward price momentum of items ranging from real estate to gas to groceries; planned big ticket purchases in 2010; current feelings towards making discretionary purchases and data detailing retailers' shopped at in the past 30 days. February data is based on fieldwork conducted between March 4 and 9, 2010.

About Retail Vision™

Designed for retailers, Retail Vision tracks consumer involvement and spending behaviour across 12 key retail categories to provide a clear and concise read on the health of the Canadian retail market. The study also explores attitudes towards spending money and assesses consumer confidence in the state of the economy. Since January 2009, Vision Critical's Retail practice conducts a monthly online survey among Canadian consumers, recruited from the Angus Reid Forum – a nationally representative panel of Canadian citizens developed and managed by Vision Critical. Retail Vision also includes an ad hoc component that changes each quarter to address a current topic of interest to retailers.

About Vision Critical®

Vision Critical is a strategic interactive research company combining technology, researchers and global panels. We help companies reduce research costs while generating engaging and insightful relationships with consumers. Vision Critical uses a visual approach, panel technology and our own global panels to embrace markets with the click of a mouse. The company has offices across North America, Europe and Australia and a Global Partner Program that provides other research companies and consultants with access to our technology.

Angus Reid Public Opinion is the company's global public affairs practice, specializing in the analysis and understanding of "citizen markets" and the public commons. Its Global Monitor contains over 20,000 published surveys.

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