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Canadians’ savings take a hit over the holiday season, fewer feel positive about their financial health in 2022

One-third of Canadians went over-budget in their gift-giving enthusiasm – up eight percentage points from last year. The good news: while these shoppers spent an average of $414 more than intended, this is much less than the previous year’s record high of $588. This according to a new Ipsos poll surveying Canadians aged 18+ from January 4th to 6th, 2022. With increasing inflation 2/3rds of Canadians feel insecure about the future rising costs of food, fuel, and housing.

Across the country, Quebec and B.C. consumers exceeded their budgets the most Across the country, Quebec and B.C. consumers exceeded their budgets the most ($476 and $454 respectively); those in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Atlantic Canada overspent the least ($320 each).

While debit/cash was the preferred payment method for holiday season purchases for almost half of Canadians surveyed (48%), this dropped down seven points from the previous year (55%). Meanwhile, credit card use increased by six points (43% vs. 37%).

y average expenditure, this season’s most popular gift categories shifted too. Gifting experiences to family and friends jumped to top of the list ($160 vs. $91 in 2020), pushing gift cards down into second ($115 vs. $121) and electronics into third ($90 vs. $104). By gender, male shoppers spent the most on giving experiences ($198), followed by electronics ($130) and gift cards ($129). Women also spent the most on giving experiences ($123), followed by gift cards ($101) and toys ($76).

Canadians looking for ways to manage their holiday debts

Canadians who spent more than intended are now looking at ways to manage their holiday debts. Three-in-ten responded they are using their credit cards to carry these expenses and intending to spend less on entertainment or other discretionary costs (29% and 28% respectively) to offset their holiday expenditures, while 7% don’t yet know how they will pay off those bills.

The Ipsos I-Say Panel poll also found that fewer Canadians feel positive about their financial health in 2022 after their holiday spending.

  • Those who said they feel great – “I stuck to what I planned to spend” – dropped to 42% from 48% (highest in B.C. at 51%)
  • Those who feel good – “I spent a bit more than anticipated, but I’m back on track” – dropped from 30% to 26% (highest in Saskatchewan/Manitoba at 36%).

Meanwhile, those who simply feel okay – “I spent more than expected, but I’ve got a plan to get back on track by or before April” – rose to 24% from 18% (highest in Quebec at 29%).

As for their ability to save anything extra this year, almost one-quarter (22%) responded they aren’t saving anything now and don’t think they will have anything extra to set aside in 2022.

 2022 IPSOS Spending & Saving Insights Poll – Regional & Gender Comparisons

ALL RESPONDENTS        CANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Yes, I overspent
over holiday season
33%28%26%35%36%32%35%32%34%
Average overspent$414$454$436$320$390$476$320$452$378
PURCHASEPAYMENT METHODCANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Cash/Debit48%40%42%55%47%52%59%49%48%
Credit card(s)43%49%50%37%46%38%32%43%43%
Gift cards4%5%3%3%3%5%4%4%4%
Reward points3%5%4%1%3%1%1%2%3%
Line of credit1%*1%2%1%1%1%1%1%
Annual bonus1%**1%1%1%2%1%1%
Data provided by IPSOS Poll
Sample size too small             
OVERSPENDERS:PAYING OFFHOLIDAY SEASONCOSTSCANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Carry costs oncredit cards, pay offbalance right away16%8%19%18%19%14%13%18%15%
Carry costs on credit card, pay offthe balance withintwo months or more13%13%18%10%14%9%10%14%12%
Cut discretionary costs
(entertainment, etc.)
27%24%28%30%29%30%16%24%31%
Save in other areas28%31%23%25%29%26%28%27%28%
No idea how to pay these costs yet7%5%7%6%7%9%8%6%8%
ALL RESPONDENTS:
FEELINGS ABOUT
2022 FINANCIAL
HEALTH
CANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Great42%51%43%37%42%38%41%42%42%
Good26%25%24%36%25%24%27%27%25%
OK24%17%26%16%24%29%22%23%24%
Bad6%4%3%7%6%7%7%5%6%
Terrible3%2%5%3%4%2%3%3%4%
SAVE EXTRA $ PER MONTHCANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Not saving anything now22%27%25%23%22%19%24%19%25%
USE FOR ‘FOUND’ $CANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Add to general savings33%35%33%27%36%28%38%32%34%
Pay down debt32%26%34%30%28%40%39%32%33%
Save for a particular purpose25%28%29%25%27%21%24%22%29%
Invest21%16%22%23%26%18%13%27%15%
Treat myself20%17%16%14%19%29%14%22%19%
Give to charity7%8%8%5%8%4%4%8%5%
No idea6%5%3%9%4%8%8%6%6%
AVERAGE AMOUNT SPENT/CATEGORY          CANBCABSK/MBONQCACMF
Toys$89$94$74$81$94$86$90$103$76
Electronics (mobile devices, gaming, etc.)$90$75$66$175$105$73$59$130$53
Entertainment (books, video games, iTunes)$58$123$54$38$54$39$46$79$39
Giving experiences to family, friends$160$386$163$116$138$86$135$198$123
Gift cards$114$82$115$93$140$99$112$129$101
Gifts for pets$26$21$33$19$32$18$21$20$30
Giving to charities$70$265$83$20$50$16$24$99$43

The precision of online polls is measured using credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been surveyed.

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