Data shows Canadians plan to spend less this holiday season


Canadian shoppers plan to buy less this holiday season than they did in 2014, according to new research from SAS, the analytics leader. In its second year of holiday shopping research, SAS polled 3,458 consumers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to uncover holiday retail trends. Canadians lead the pack in plans to spend less this year, with 1 in 5 Canadians surveyed saying they will spend less than last year.

“Our data shows consumers are motivated the most by price in 2015,” said Shawn Smith, SAS Retail Solutions Specialist for SAS Canada. “Retailers will need to work harder to earn a portion of Canadians’ gift budgets this year, but at the same time, there’s a real opportunity to make sure the right customers get the right deals this holiday season.”

Canadians continue to embrace Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Not only are Canadians planning to spend less this year, but they’re also shopping around the holiday discount cycle, planning to buy gifts when the best deals are available. While U.S. shoppers still lead the retail charge on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Canadians are catching up, with nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of those surveyed saying they’re likely to shop on Black Friday and 17 per cent likely to shop on Cyber Monday. Meanwhile, 39 per cent of U.S. respondents say they’re planning to shop on Black Friday and 38 per cent say they’ll shop on Cyber Monday.
SAS research also indicates that these popular days for holiday deals may be more than just a North American retail phenomenon, as 17 per cent of respondents from the U.K. saying they’re likely to shop on Black Friday.

Consumers the world over still plan to do the bulk of their shopping during the traditional November to December holiday season. Only 6 per cent of consumers say their holiday shopping was complete in October when this survey was conducted.

Nothing beats the in-store holiday experience

While online retail has grown in recent years, for many Canadians holiday shopping means shopping in a store. In fact, SAS research found that 82% per cent of Canadians surveyed say they plan to shop in-store this holiday season, versus 87 per cent of Americans and 79 per cent of respondents in the U.K.

While Canadians are planning to spend time in brick and mortar retailers this holiday season, they’re still focused on price. Discount retailers are the top choice for Canadians surveyed when asked what type of store they plan to shop for gifts, followed by specialty retailers and eTailers. In the U.S., discount retailers are the most popular places to shop followed by eTailers and department stores. In the U.K., eTailers are the most popular followed by department stores and grocery stores. In Australia, department stores and discount retailers tied for first in the hearts of consumers. In New Zealand, warehouse retailers ranked No. 1 followed by department stores, then discounter retailers.

Whether shoppers around the world are heading to stores or online, don’t be surprised if you receive a few gift cards this year: it’s the No. 1 gift choice for consumers overall. The next most popular gift items are toys and games, followed by apparel.