March Consumer Confidence Shows Strength

The Conference Board of Canada’s Index of Consumer Confidence rose 14.1 points to 105.2 in March, its largest monthly increase since last June. The index now sits at 87 per cent of its pre-pandemic level. With lockdown measures being lifted and vaccines being rolled out, Canadians were much more optimistic about the future in March. More than 25 per cent believe there will be more jobs six months from now, a historic high share of optimism on that question. Consumers also feel more satisfied with their finances in March, likely stemming from the recent improvement in the labour market as well as the extension of the Canada Recovery Benefit from 26 weeks to 38 weeks. Only 21.7 per cent of survey respondents express pessimism about their current finances. As sentiments improve on finances and job prospects, Canadians are more confident about making a major purchase. Close to 24 per cent of consumers believe that now is a good time to make a major purchase, the highest level within the past year. This improvement in consumer confidence should help support a recovery of consumer spending. The index shows gains in all regions of the country in March.