Public Perspectives: Understanding Changing Society and Markets in 2019

Heading into 2019, we see decreasing consumer confidence and a higher potential for social and political disruption. What does that mean for you?

The author(s)

  • Mike Colledge President, Canada, Public Affairs
  • Chris Martyn Chief Research Officer, Canada, Public Affairs
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At Ipsos we are dedicated to helping our clients understand the complex inter-relationship between Canadians, society and the market place.

In the last quarter of 2018 we saw the Canadian Ipsos Disruption Barometer (IDB)* drop into negative territory for the first time in almost 2 years. What this means is that while the Canadian economy was going strong and unemployment was reaching a 40-year record low, Canadians were not feeling the same level of optimism about their personal economic prospects or their quality of life.

We know from our research that affordability of day-to-day necessities has become a top concern among Canadians as stagnant wage levels combined with increased costs mean many Canadians feel like they are falling behind – despite ample job opportunities.

Heading into 2019, the IDB points to decreasing consumer confidence and a higher potential for social and political disruption.  With the prospect of an economic downturn on the horizon, increased household costs expected (whether from carbon pricing, increased CPP contributions or interest rates) and a Federal election in the Fall of 2019, there are several pending triggers that set the stage for a more challenging consumer context and a more disruptive social environment.

What does this mean for government and business for 2019? As we monitor the public environment throughout 2019 we will get a better understanding of the potential scope and focus on the disruption and the impact on consumers and citizens but our initial assessment for 2019 is that we will see:

  • increased pressure on consumer finances, leading to more frugal spending;
  • consumers becoming more critical in and demanding of their interactions with government and business, putting pressure on user/customer satisfaction;
  • regional and demographic fissures (especially generational) that have started to emerge will likely widen leading to lower social cohesion; and,
  • poor economic news, be it a stock market decline or a company closure, may be amplified as they resonate with a receptive public.

It looks like the year will be an increasingly challenging and disruptive one for those of us operating in Canada.


Public Perspectives, by Ipsos, offers expert commentary on both Canadian and global public opinion across a variety of topics. Register here to receive our free monthly email alert.

*The Ipsos Disruption Barometer is a leading indicator of disruptive social/political events and consumer behaviour (consumer spending).  Based on our research that shows “consumer confidence” is driven by non-economic factors such as overall quality of life, direction of country, etc. as well as economic factors we have combined conventional consumer confidence metrics with social/political metrics to create the IDB.  The IDB has proven to be a leading indicator across 6 countries (US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Canada) and is being launched Globally across 26 countries in 2019.

The author(s)

  • Mike Colledge President, Canada, Public Affairs
  • Chris Martyn Chief Research Officer, Canada, Public Affairs

Society