Economic Concerns and Frugality Hit British Columbia

The perception of the state of the provincial economy has fallen by 21 points since November 2014.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians are not as buoyant about the state of the provincial economy as they were 13 months ago, and two-in-five say they will slash their household budget for entertainment and meals, our latest Economic Insights Tracker has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 46% of residents describe the economic conditions in British Columbia as “very good” or “good” (down from 67% in a similar Insights West poll conducted for BCBusiness in November 2014), while 48% deem them “poor” or “very poor” (up from 26%).


Two-in-five British Columbians (41%) expect the provincial economy to decline over the next six months—including 35% of those who voted for the BC Liberals in the 2013 provincial election and 50% of those who voted for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP).

“At the end of 2014, two thirds of British Columbians rated the province’s economy in a positive light,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Now, as 2016 begins, fewer than half feel the same way.”

Two thirds of British Columbians (65%, -4) say their own household’s finances are “very good” or “good” at this point, while one third (33%) say they are “poor” or “very poor.” Three-in-five residents (61%, -1) do not expect any change in their financial standpoint over the next six months.

There is a clear sense of frugality across the province, with 43% of British Columbians saying they will “buy new clothes” less often than before (up from 32% in November 2014), 42% saying they will dine out less (+12), 40% saying they will spend less on entertainment (+7) and 36% saying they will travel less (+7).

In addition to the changes in personal spending, British Columbians are also expecting a higher cost of living, with 93% predicting they will pay more for a week’s worth of groceries over the next six months, and 71% forecasting higher prices for real estate. A majority (54%) also foresee more expensive prices for a new car. The only noticeable drop is on the price of gasoline, where just 39% of residents foresee an increase (down from 58% in November 2014).

Only one-in-four British Columbians (25%) are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to take an overseas holiday in the next six months, and even fewer plan to embark on a major home renovation (13%), purchase a new home (9%) or a new vehicle (8%).

Almost half of British Columbians (47%) say they have worried “frequently” or “occasionally” about the value of their investments, while about a third have been concerned about the safety of their savings (36%), being able to pay their bills (32%), having to carry a balance on a credit card (32%) or unemployment affecting their household (31%).

Just one-in-four British Columbians (24%) expect to get a raise at their current employer over the next six months, and fewer believe they will move to another house (18%), change careers (17%) or get a promotion (12%).

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from January 13 to January 15, 2016, among a representative sample of 811 British Columbian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: tales of a wandering youkai