Consumer spending in Canada sees modest increase in Q4

Jan 10, 2014, 12:58 ET from Moneris Solutions Corporation

Moneris Spending Report shows 1.95 per cent spending rise in last three months of 2013, ongoing shift to mobile payment options during holiday season 

TORONTO, Jan. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Moneris Solutions Corporation ("Moneris"), Canada's largest credit and debit card processor, announced today that, in Q4 2013, consumer spending increased by 1.95 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. For the second year in a row, Q4 saw the smallest gain in dollars spent compared to previous quarters (Q1 - 3.31 per cent, Q2 - 3.61 per cent and Q3 - 4.52 per cent).

The Moneris Spending Report shows that November 2013 experienced the strongest spending growth in the quarter, at 3.44 per cent, compared to the same period in 2012, followed by October at 2.43 per cent. December saw the slowest growth in Q4, compared to the same period a year before, at 1.66 per cent. This may indicate an increase in the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.

The grocery category experienced the largest year-over-year increase in dollars spent in Q4 2013, at 2.77 per cent. This category was followed by entertainment (2.53 per cent), hotels (2.15 per cent) and specialty retail (1.59 per cent). Within the specialty retail category, sporting goods (4.18 per cent), pet items (2.82 per cent) and shoe stores (2.37 per cent) experienced the most growth.

Overall, credit card spending continued to outpace debit card spending in Q4 2013, with increases of 2.54 per cent and 1.10 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2012.

Provincially, year-over-year spending in Q4 2013 was the highest in Saskatchewan and Alberta, at 4.65 per cent and 3.99 per cent, respectively. Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador experienced more moderate growth - at 2.40 per cent and 1.78 per cent, respectively - while PEI saw the least growth, at -0.74 per cent.

The 2013 Ontario Ice Storm - which left parts of the province in the dark between December 20 and December 24, 2013 - had a negative impact on overall spending in Ontario. In-store consumer spending dropped -2.62 per cent during that period, while online purchases fell -25.83 per cent, compared to the same period in 2012 - likely reflecting online shopping constraints due to power outages. The apparel category saw both its in-store (-10.44 per cent) and online (-13.39 per cent) spending drop, as did the speciality retail category, with a -9.82 per cent decrease in in-store, and a -11.10 per cent decrease in online spending. Hotel spending, however, grew by 15.64 per cent during the December 20 - December 24, 2013 period, as many Ontarians sought refuge from the blackout and cold temperatures.

2013 holiday spending

During the period between December 21 and December 24, 2013, year-over-year in-store spending in Canada dropped slightly, by -2.02 per cent, while online spending grew 2.81 per cent. This may suggest a continuing shift away from traditional in-store purchasing toward online shopping. Online spending grew by 54.47 per cent, and online apparel spending rose by 36.49 per cent.

As in previous years, many Canadians waited until the last minute to make their holiday purchases, making December 23rd the busiest shopping day of 2013. The number of transactions per second peaked on this day between 1:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. EST, at 439 transactions per second.

Similar to the pre-Christmas period, online spending (18.35 per cent) outpaced in-store spending (0.41 per cent) between December 26 and December 30, 2013. While year-over-year online apparel sales skyrocketed during this period - resulting in a 39.26 per cent increase - in-store apparel sales saw their spending grow by a modest 3.39 per cent. Increases in online speciality retail spending (10.51 per cent) compared to in-store spending (1.54 per cent) reflected similar patterns.

"Consumer spending patterns in Canada reflect changing economic, social and even climatic realities in the country and its various provinces," said Jeff Guthrie, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Moneris. "The growing popularity of pre-holiday retail shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the ongoing shift towards mobile payment options and, to a certain extent, diverse weather conditions, are among the factors that have shaped this year's Q4 and holiday spending. Overall, even though the year ended with a slight decrease in spending compared to the first three quarters of the year, 2013 proved to be another successful year for Canadian retailers."

About The Moneris Spending Report
The Moneris Spending Report provides a snapshot of consumer spending activity in Canada by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. As the market leader with the largest merchant base, Moneris presents detailed analysis and insight on a quarterly basis. The percentages cited are derived from actual sales volumes - the dollar values of credit and debit card transactions being processed by Moneris merchants.

About Moneris Solutions
As one of North America's largest providers of payment processing solutions, Moneris Solutions Corporation ("Moneris") offers credit, debit, wireless and online payment services for merchants in virtually every industry segment and processes more than three billion transactions, annually. Moneris offers electronic loyalty and stored-value gift card programs. With more than 350,000 merchant locations, Moneris provides the hardware, software and systems needed to improve business efficiency and manage payments. For more information please visit

SOURCE Moneris Solutions Corporation

Image with caption: "Consumer spending in Canada sees modest increase in Q4 (CNW Group/Moneris Solutions Corporation)". Image available at: