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Canadians’ Holiday Spending To Remain Strong Despite COVID-19

TORONTO — Although the majority of Canadians have no plans to cut back on gift-giving this year, surveys show that holiday spending habits have shifted slightly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by Equifax Canada, 58 per cent of respondents said they will spend about the same on holiday gifts as they did last year, with only four per cent planning to spent more, reported CTV News.

Only 33 per cent of Canadians polled said they are plan to spend less on gifts this year.

“Despite COVID-19, there’s still a good level of optimism when it comes to preparing for the holidays,” Rebecca Oakes, Equifax Canada’s AVP of Advanced Analytics, said in a press release.

“On the bright side, it looks like most people still plan on buying presents, even if they’re staying away from extended family to protect them this holiday season. However, it’s important to take stock of your finances and prepare a realistic budget to avoid any unpleasant bills in the New Year.”

According to Equifax, credit card utilization remained low with a 10 per cent year-over-year drop in both Q2 and Q3 when compared to the same time period in 2019.

But consumer spending bounced back to pre-COVID levels in Q3, with the holidays set to provide another boost in Q4.

The online survey, which polled 1,539 Canadians in September using Leger’s online panel, found that six in ten Canadians view the financial impact of the pandemic in a more positive way, with nearly half (45 per cent) expecting their household finances to stabilize in the next six months.

Similarly, the annual Holiday Spending Study from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), found that 37 per cent of holiday shoppers have put money aside for gifts in 2020 – only two per cent less than those who budgeted for gift giving in 2019.

The CPA survey found that while 29 per cent of shoppers plan to spend less this year due to the pandemic, Canadians still intend to spend an average of $588 this holiday season, slightly higher than the $583 reported in 2019.

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