Majority don’t anticipate overspending this holiday season: CPA Canada survey

On average, Canadians will spend $643 on gifts this holiday season, according to a national survey conducted for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

Toronto, November 29, 2018 – On average, Canadians will spend $643 on gifts this holiday season, according to a national survey conducted for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

A large majority (84 per cent) of those participating in the CPA Canada 2018 Holiday Spending Study plan to spend less than $1,000 on gifts, including five per cent who will spend nothing. In contrast, 13 per cent anticipate spending more than a grand on seasonal presents.

As for other holiday season spending, the majority of those surveyed (64 per cent) plan on spending less than $200 on travel and 76 per cent expect to spend less than $400 on entertaining. Both figures include people who plan no spending at all.

The research also found that 64 per cent of the survey participants do not save throughout the year for holiday gifts. The bulk of Canadians (67 per cent) do not believe they will overspend this year, but if they do it will be for their immediate family, with 69 per cent indicating they would be likely to go over budget for their children or significant others.

"It’s encouraging that most of the survey participants plan to keep their spending in check this holiday season,” says Doretta Thompson, director, corporate citizenship, CPA Canada. "Many Canadians could make it easier on themselves by planning ahead and saving throughout the year for holidays. Thinking ahead financially can sure help make the season one of good cheer.”

Other key discoveries from the CPA Canada research:

  • On budgeting for holiday spending, Canadians are split with 52 per cent indicating they will plan out their spending and 46 per cent saying they will not, with two per cent unsure
  • Forty-six per cent of respondents plan to spend the largest part of their holiday gift budget in store. Another 16 per cent indicate they will spend the most online, while one third think they will spend roughly the same amount in store and online. The remaining six per cent don’t know. Eleven per cent plan to leave holiday shopping until the last minute

The research also examined Canadians’ attitudes towards sales events, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day, with 64 per cent indicating that they will take part of at least one. More than half (58 per cent) of the survey participants belong to at least one retail loyalty program specifically to save money while shopping.  

Nielsen conducted the CPA Canada 2018 Holiday Spending Study via an online questionnaire, from November 2nd to 8th, 2018 with 2002 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel. A background document can be found online at: cpacanada.ca/holidayspending.