Most Canadians kept holiday spending in check

by Steve Randall07 Feb 2019

Amid economic uncertainty, Canada’s consumers showed restraint during the holiday season.

A new poll from RBC reveals that fewer people overspent and increased their debt burden with an average overspend of $384, 28% lower than a year earlier and the lowest in 8 years.

Young adults (18-34) cut their overspending to an average of $363 and women cut theirs to $379; both were reduced by almost $200 compared to the previous year.

“We're all tempted to toss aside the budget during the holiday season, but what a good news story to see that Canadians showed restraint this year and far fewer are entering 2019 with holiday debt weighing them down," said Vinita Savani, Vice-President, GICs & Savings, RBC. "Canadians are starting 2019 off on the right foot – their next step will be managing their spending throughout the year and seeing if they can build up their savings too."

Saving for a down payment
The poll shows that savings remain challenging for many Canadians – including those struggling with the ever-increasing amount needed for a down payment in many markets.

Asked about saving more this year, 23% responded that they weren't saving regularly now and weren't expecting to be able to save anything 'extra'.

RBC has added NOMI Find & Save to its mobile app. It proactively analyzes spending and saving and finds extra money customers won’t miss and automatically sets it aside in a savings account.

Regional comparisons & national gender findings

 

Overspent?

NAT'L

BC

AB

SK /
MB

ON

QC

AC

M

F

Yes

40%

43%

39%

48%

43%

34%

33%

39%

41%

By how much?

$384

$464

$404

$500

$410

$230

$357

$389

$379

                   

How overspenders
will pay holiday bills?

NAT'L

BC

AB

SK / MB

ON

QC

AC

M

F

Spend less on lunch &
coffee, entertainment

30%

34%

34%

28%

26%

34%

37%

29%

31%

Spend less on day-to-
day living expenses

25%

32%

24%

26%

24%

21%

29%

25%

25%

Carry costs on credit
card; pay off balance
in two months or more

20%

15%

20%

21%

22%

18%

19%

22%

18%

Carry costs on credit
card; pay off balance
immediately

14%

14%

7%

20%

16%

14%

7%

15%

13%

Carry costs on my
line of credit

8%

6%

9%

18%

7%

6%

5%

10%

6%

I've already paid
my holidays bills off

30%

28%

35%

36%

30%

29%

28%

31%

30%

Don't know how I'll pay
holidays bills off yet

8%

9%

3%

6%

9%

6%

12%

7%

8%

Average amount spent
by holiday shoppers
per gift category

 

NAT'L

 

BC

AB

SK /
MB

ON

QC

AC

M

F

Toys

$96

$85

$116

$106

$107

$77

$80

$93

$99

Electronics (e.g.
mobile devices,
computers, gaming
consoles)

$102

$106

$92

$84

$108

$93

$124

$132

$74

Entertainment (e.g.
DVDs, games/video
games, books /
eBooks, iTunes)

$51

$47

$62

$50

$52

$48

$51

$60

$43

Giving experiences to
family, friends

$129

$110

$114

$168

$149

$97

$153

$137

$122

Gift cards

$119

$118

$95

$187

$118

$103

$150

$113

$124

Gifts for pets

$29

$21

$29

$29

$36

$20

$36

$33

$25

Giving to charities on
behalf of yourself or
family, friends

$28

$16

$23

$44

$32

$26

$27

$34

$21

 


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