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Canadians Continue to Spend More on the Holidays in 2010: Scotiabank Study

Half of Canadians have saved enough to cover the cost of gifts and holiday expenses

TORONTO, Ontario, December 16, 2010 — Canadians are planning to spend more this holiday season, marking a directional increase in intended holiday spending compared to the past two years, according to Scotiabank's 2010 Holiday Spending Study conducted by Harris/Decima. On average, Canadians plan to spend $968 on overall holiday spending this year, up from $891 in 2009 and $884 in 2008. In addition, Canadians have prepared in advance for this spending, with half (49 per cent) indicating they have saved enough to cover the cost of all the gifts they plan to buy and/or their other holiday expenses.

"For the most part, Canadians appear to be happy shoppers this holiday season," says Scotiabank's Deputy Chief Economist, Aron Gampel. "Unlike the performances throughout the developed world, Canada's economy has fully recouped the employment and economic losses incurred during the recession, with increasing activity in the commodity-producing regions and buoyant housing markets helping to underpin confidence and spending power. And though concerns have mounted over the continuing run-up in household indebtedness, the survey indicates the responsiveness of Canadians to manage their finances and spend more responsibly."

For the second year in a row, those in Alberta plan to spend the most on overall holiday spending ($1,388) and on gifts ($886), while those in Quebec plan to spend the least ($776 and $494). When it comes to saving for other holiday expenses, there are little differences across the country, with the majority of Canadians reporting they save for all (49 per cent) or some (31 per cent) of these costs.

Gift cards remain the most popular gift to both give and receive this holiday season (51 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively). When it comes to giving, the next most popular choices are clothing (40 per cent) and electronics (39 per cent). For receiving, it's electronics (33 per cent) and money (32 per cent).

The majority of Canadians do some degree of planning for their holiday expenses, with 23 per cent indicating they plan for their holiday spending well in advance and 43 per cent indicating they do a little planning.

Other highlights from the study

  • The majority of Canadians (69 per cent) will continue to enjoy a break from work during the holidays and spend their time with family and friends.
    • Young Canadians aged 18-34 are more likely to be working over the holidays than those aged 45+ (14 per cent vs. five per cent).
  • Spouses/partners top the gift giving list again this year (64 per cent), followed by parents (61 per cent) and children (58 per cent).
    • Men are planning on spending significantly more this holiday season than women ($1,043 vs. $898).
  • This holiday season, women are more likely to ask for gift cards, clothing, trips or travel, jewelry and housewares, while men would like to receive electronics, tools and sporting goods.
  • Canadians aged 50+ are more likely to plan for their holiday expenses well in advance (28 per cent vs. their younger counterparts at 19 per cent). This same age group is most likely to have saved enough to cover the cost of all their gifts (58 per cent vs. their younger counterparts at 42 per cent).
  • Men are more likely than women to spend money on their holiday expenses as needed (36 per cent vs. 29 per cent), whereas women are more likely than men to plan well in advance (27 per cent vs. 20 per cent).

Harris/Decima completed 1,001 online surveys among a random sample of Harris/Decima panel members. The study was conducted between October 25th, 2010 through November 2nd, 2010.

This was a standard panel survey among a random sample of Harris/Decima's Canadian panel members. In a fashion similar to a telephone study, email addresses from their panel were pulled at random, according to population and gender specifications, in order to make the study representative of the Canadian population by region and gender. When contacted to solicit participation, participants had no prior knowledge of the subject matter of the study. Harris/Decima controls access to the study through passwords to ensure that respondents can participate only one time. Subsequent to completion of the study, the data was weighted for region, age, and gender. 

Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and Canada's most international bank. With more than 70,000 employees, Scotiabank Group and its affiliates serve some 18.6 million customers in more than 50 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a broad range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking. With assets above $526 billion (as at October 31, 2010), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit

News source: Scotiabank


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