Canadians Assess 2018 as Worse than 2017; Pessimism Continues into 2019

Only Six in Ten (61%) Say their Financial Situation is Good (-5 Points) as Canadians Expect to Spend More on Food, Housing and Health in 2019

Toronto, ON, December 31, 2018 — Canadians’ assessment of 2018 is worse than the assessment they gave 2017 a year ago, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. Moreover, the data show that Canadians are more pessimistic about 2019 than they were about this year heading into 2018.

Fewer Canadians say that 2018 was good to them in the following ways than said the same about 2017, particularly when it comes to financial matters:

  • Your job and career – 77% good (25% very/51% somewhat), down 2 points. Atlantic Canadians (83%) have the best assessment, Albertans the worst (67%)
  • You and your family – 75% good (26% very/50% somewhat), down 2 points. Quebecers (81%) have the best assessment, Albertans the worst (68%)
  • Your personal financial situation – 60% good (15% very/45% somewhat), down 4 points. British Columbians have the best assessment (67%), Albertans the worst (44%).
  • The Canadian economy in general – 53% good (9% very/44% somewhat), down 2 points. Quebecers (61%) have the best assessment, Albertans (27%) the worst
  • Your retirement plans/savings – 53% good (13% very/40% somewhat), down 6 points. British Columbians (60%) have the best assessment, Albertans (40%) the worst

And while most remain hopeful that 2019 will be a good year for them, Canadians are giving a more pessimistic forecast for 2019 than they did heading into 2018 a year ago, reflecting a general souring of attitudes, especially related to finances:

  • You job and career – 85% good (32% very/52% somewhat), down 3 points. Ontarians (86%) are most optimistic, Albertans (80%) the least
  • You and your family – 84% good (31% very/53% somewhat), down 4 points. Quebecers (88%) are most optimistic, Albertans (74%) the least
  • Your personal financial situation – 71% good (20% very/52% somewhat), down 9 points. Quebecers (75%) and British Columbians (75%) are most optimistic, Albertans (59%) the least
  • Your retirement plans/savings – 64% good (19% very/46% somewhat), down 8 points. British Columbians (69%) are most optimistic, Albertans (51%) the least.
  • The Canadian economy in general – 59% good (12% very/47% somewhat), down 6 points. British Columbians are most optimistic (69%), Albertans the least (51%).

And while there are good years and bad years for everybody, a majority of Canadians continue to say that life is going well for them. However, Canadians’ financial situation appears to be deteriorating compared to last year. Giving an overall assessment of various aspects of their lives…

  • Eight in ten (78%) Canadians rate their personal happiness as good (25% very/53% somewhat), up 1 point.
  • Eight in ten (77%) rate their health as good (25% very/52% somewhat), unchanged. British Columbians (81%) are highest,
  • Residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (72%) are lowest.
  • Seven in ten (72%) say their social life is good (24% very/49% somewhat), up 1 point.
  • Six in ten (62%) say their sex or romantic life is good (22% very/40% somewhat), up 3 points. British Columbians are highest (67%), residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%) are lowest.
  • Six in ten (61%) say their financial situation is good (16% very/45% somewhat), down 5 points. Quebecers (66%) and British Columbians (66%) are highest, Albertans (46%) are lowest.

The declining assessment of one’s own financial situation is likely a function of declining markets in the latter half of 2018, spending more on necessities in 2018, and expectations of risings costs in the future. Canadians say their spending on necessities in 2018 increased (50%) rather than decreased (14%), that their debt increased (32%) rather than decreased (26%), that they spent less (30%) not more (27%) on discretionary items that they want but don’t need, and have less (35%) not more (31%) savings in the bank.

On balance, Canadians think they will be paying more for food, housing, health and wellness, transportation, and debt repayments in 2019 than they did this year. The chart below outlines the proportion of Canadians who think they will spend more, about the same or less on these things in 2019 compared to what they spent in 2018.

Net ScoresLast year, the gap between %more and %less for food was only 15 points and has now doubled to 30 points, underscoring the expectations that Canadians have for rising food prices. Similarly, for housing, the gap between %more and %less was 18 points, and is now 26 points. For these two categories in particular, Canadians are expecting to spend more. Overall, Canadians anticipate curtailing their spending on entertainment, leisure and vacation, perhaps to make up for increased expenditures elsewhere.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between December 7 to 12, 2018, on behalf Global News. For this survey, a sample of 2,001 adults living in Canada was polled. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to 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. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2001
Darrell.Bricker@ipsos.com

 

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

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