Canadians to spend more this holiday season, report finds

Trade uncertainty, climbing debt levels and rising interest rates don’t seem to be dampening holiday spirits among Canadian consumers, who plan to spend as much or more this season as they did last year, according to an annual report by accounting firm PwC.

The firm’s holiday outlook released Tuesday found that consumers will spend an average of $1,563 this year, up 3.7 per cent from $1,507 in 2017. 

Not all of those dollars are going to things put under a tree or exchanged next to a menorah, though. The largest portion of the Canadian holiday spend will go to travel, $720, while gifts chew up $625 and entertainment, $198.

The data comes from a national survey of more than 1,000 Canadian consumers across generational groups, and could indicate greater consumer confidence than expected.

“Canadians are ready to shop this holiday season despite recent trade uncertainty and climbing debt levels,” said Myles Gooding, PwC’s retail lead in Canada, in a statement about the report.

In fact, the report says that present day uncertainty could contribute to a sense that the economy will improve in the next six months, prompting Canadians to spend more now.

Despite growing use of online retailers, the report found that 63% of holiday shopping will be done in stores. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Men are leading the increase in holiday spending this year, especially millennial dads — 53 per cent plan to spend more than last year. On average Canadian men intend to spend $1,752 this year while women expect to part with $1,485. 

Despite growing fondness for online retailers, 63 per cent of Canadian holiday shopping will be done in stores, the report found.

About one third of Canadians plan to do some cross-border shopping to score both deals and items they can’t find at home.

Of those who head to the U.S. to shop, 49 per cent will buy apparel and 48 per cent electronics.

There could be brisk business in chew toys and bespoke dog collars this year, too. 

Pet owners surveyed said they will spend an average of $65 on their pets over the holiday season.



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