Canadians to spend more overall this holiday season, but adding extra debt not on their shopping list: RBC

TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - As prime holiday shopping season approaches, Canadians remain generous in spirit, while continuing last year's trend of tightening their belts as gift-givers, according to the latest RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook. The overall holiday spending of Canadian gift givers is on the rise in 2013, with the cost expected to increase slightly from to $1,192.50 compared to $1,181.80 last year. The cost increase does not come from gift-giving, however, and instead from non-gift expenses.

Eight-in-10 Canadians (80 per cent) plan to give gifts this holiday season, but the average amount they intend to spend has decreased in 2013 from last year ($608.60 versus $628.50), a downward trend since 2011. Conversely, the amount that Canadians intend to spend in other areas, like decorations, entertainment and travel, this holiday season rose in 2013 compared to last year ($583 versus $553), edging up to levels not observed since 2011.

"Canadians continue to be conscious of their finances and intend to be smart with their expenses this holiday season," said Richa Hingorani, senior manager, Financial Planning Support, RBC. "One simple yet important step to keep in mind is that, with a little planning, it's easy to stay on top of holiday spending without dipping into your savings or increasing your debt. A holiday budget can go a long way to ensuring you're not over-extending yourself - and come January, you don't regret the holidays."

A recent RBC Economics report noted that Canadian households' non-mortgage debt grew at the slowest annual pace for 10 years in the 12 months ending September 2013.

In keeping with intentions to manage debt, a majority (54 per cent) of Canadians intend to cover their holiday expenses using cash or debit cards (56 per cent last year). One-in-four consumers (25 per cent) intend to pay with a credit card, but say they will pay it off in full within the next billing cycle, while only six per cent intend to carry a balance on their credit card.

Across the country, regional differences were apparent with British Columbia making the most significant cutbacks, while those in Atlantic Canada are outspending most other regions this season. Regional highlights include:

British Columbia:

  • 31 per cent of consumers intend to spend less this holiday season (versus 25 per cent nationally)
  • Largest decrease in overall holiday spending from 2012 ($1,088 versus $1,326)
  • 77 per cent of consumers intend to give gifts this year, down from 86 per cent in 2012. Average spend on gifts: $557.

Alberta

  • Tied with the national average, 25 per cent of Albertans intend to reduce holiday spending
  • Despite decreasing spending from 2012 ($1,325 versus $1,495), Albertans will spend the most this holiday season
  • 85 per cent of Albertans intend to give gifts in 2013, down from 87 per cent in 2012. Average spend on gifts: $673.

Saskatchewan/Manitoba

  • Tied with the national average, 25 per cent of those in the region intend to reduce holiday spending
  • Total holiday spending to decrease from 2012 ($1,245 versus $1,362) in the region
  • 86 per cent of those in the region intend to give gifts, up from 84 per cent in 2012. Average spend on gifts: $618.

Ontario

  • Tied with the national average, 25 per cent of those in the region intend to reduce holiday spending
  • Total holiday spending to increase from 2012 ($1,245 versus $1,204) in the region
  • 80 per cent of Ontarians intend to give gifts this holiday season. Average spend on gifts: $673.

Quebec

  • Only 20 per cent of consumers in the region intend to reduce holiday spending, the lowest in the country.
  • Total holiday spending increased the most in the province from 2012 ($1,060 versus $835)
  • 76 per cent of Quebecers intend to give gifts this holiday season, the lowest in the country. Average spend on gifts: $454.

Atlantic

  • 30 per cent of consumers in the region intend to reduce holiday spending in 2013
  • Total holiday spending in the region increased from 2012 ($1,257 versus $1,211)
  • 89 per cent of those in the region intend to give gifts this season, the highest in the country. Average spend on gifts: $730.

About RBC savings and other financial advice and interactive tools
Canadians can access RBC Financial Planning and www.rbc.com/savingsspot for free planning, budgeting and savings advice and resources, or to find an Investment and Retirement Planner near you. In addition, all personal RBC online banking clients can use myFinanceTracker, a no-cost interactive financial management tool, to create and track their budget, savings goals and spending habits. Whether Canadians want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions. Interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering many facets of personal finance. In addition, online advice videos are updated regularly to reflect current trends and to answer the questions that are top of mind with Canadians. With the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice about RBC products and services and personalized one-on-one service at www.rbcadvicecentre.com.

About The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index
The survey is conducted online via Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel to 3,261 Canadians (530 British Columbia, 450 Alberta, 452 Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 813 Ontario, 563 Quebec, 453 Atlantic Canada). Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Data collection was October 1 to 9, 2013. The precision of Ipsos Reid polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate within ±2 percentage points of all Canadians.

SOURCE RBC



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