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Canadians Open Their Wallets For The Holidays

Anyone who’s been in the malls over the past several days will be familiar with the throngs of shoppers filling holiday wish lists. But are they buying?

According to a Scotiabank’s annual Holiday Spending Study: not any less than last year.

“Canadians have a lot to cheer about this holiday shopping season now that the economy is slowly but surely on the mend,” said Aron Gampel, Scotiabank’s Deputy Chief Economist.

“A number of favourable factors – businesses are hiring again, governments are keeping their spending taps wide open, retailers are offering competitive pricing, and borrowing costs are still low – should help put a little more cheer into still cautious holiday spending plans.”

The survey predicts Canadians will spend $891 this year on average, up slightly from $884 in 2008.

Although Albertans plan to spend the most getting ready for the holidays ($1,085), it’s Atlantic Canadians who will be splurging the most on gifts – paying out an average of $798. Those on the other end of the country in B.C. will spend the least on presents ($547).

In Ontario, we plan to run through $848 over the season, including $601 on presents.

“I think there are some cultural differences. People I’ve talked to in the Atlantic region say it’s a really big deal – Christmas out there. So traditionally we find Atlantic Canadians spend among the highest,” explained Scotiabank Senior Economist, Adrienne Warren.

“Ontario’s economy went through a rougher climate. So [there’s] probably a little bit more cautious spending here.”


Other Interesting Facts

  • Spouses/partners top the gift giving list this year (63 per cent), followed by parents and children (tied at 57 per cent)
  • While the majority of Canadians (93 per cent) will shop in person for their gifts this year, men (42 per cent) are more likely than women (35 per cent) to shop online, while women (13 per cent) are more likely than men (7 per cent) to shop by catalogue or mail order
  • Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 (51 per cent) are more likely to give gifts of entertainment, food and beverages