Half of Canadian shoppers report trouble finding gifts in stores

The holiday season is here and many people are on the hunt for gifts to give their friends and family — but supply issues are causing more woes than cheer for some.

According to the latest data from the Angus Reid Institute, nearly half (49%) of Canadian shoppers are struggling to find what they’re looking for in stores. That figure drops to two-in-five (40%) when looking at online shopping data.

Supply, however, has been a challenge since the start of the pandemic.

They’ve recently been made worse by the natural disasters that rocked British Columbia this year. Floods and mudslides in November cut off rail service and major highways from the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, for eight days, causing a huge backlog of commercial shipments.

Young people seem to be trying to get around the problems by getting their shopping done earlier than usual, while most people (59%) say they haven’t changed their holiday shopping strategies.

Angus Reid reports a third of people (35%) say they are already shopping, while a handful (6%) are waiting longer this year, hoping that some of the issues will clear up in time before the gifts need to be given.

Canadians are also spending less on presents this year. The number of people who say they will be spending less (30%) outnumbers those who say they will be spending more (19%).

More stress

This comes as more respondents say they feel stressed emotionally (53%) and financially (41%) this year compared to an average year. Financial stress levels are highest in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Angus Reid also says inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and natural disasters contributed to overall stress increase in Canadians.

Women under 55 years old say they feel the most emotional stress. Three-in-five 18- to-34-year-old (59%) and 35- to 54-year-old (57%) women say this year has been more emotionally taxing than other years.

Young women were also more likely to have lost work during the early days of the pandemic, and more likely to need government benefits like the CERB as a result.

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