Holiday spending expected to rise slightly

A report from PwC predicts online shopping time will continue to go up, though most consumers favour a mix of channels.

Canadians plan to spend more during the upcoming holiday season, with a greater number planning to use a mix of bricks-and-mortar and ecommerce channels.

That’s according to the 2019 edition of PwC’s annual Holiday Outlook report, which is based on a survey of 1,302 Canadians.

Average spend is predicted to be $1,593 this year, according to PwC, up 1.8% from last year, with 24% of respondents planning to spend more and 59% expecting to spend roughly the same.

Part of that slight increase might be attributable to an improved outlook on the state of the economy and their own personal finances: 16% of respondents said they felt better than they did last year about the future of the economy (24% for both millennials and Gen Z), while 25% said the same of their own personal finances (31% for millennials and 38% for Gen Z).

This is despite looming concerns about an impending recession, as well as the fact that the debt-to-income ratio in Canada continues to rise. In fact, only 17% of respondents are worried about building credit card debt during the holiday season.

Canadians plan to spend 41% of their holiday shopping time online (up 4% who said the same in last year), but 59% of shopping time is expected to be done in-store.

While younger demographics continue to be more likely to shop online, Gen Z is actually more inclined to shop in store than millennials: 55% of millennials plan to do their shopping online, while for Gen Z, it is almost a 50-50 split between in-store and ecommerce. While 23% of respondents think they’ll purchase through “shoppable media” – such as posts on social media – that number rises to 43% for millennials and 36% for Gen Z.

More Canadians are also more likely to use a mix of channels than in past years: 7% of respondents planned to only do their shopping online (down 1%) and 22% planned to do their shopping only in-store (down 5%), while 71% plan to use both (up 6%). Multi-channel shoppers are also planning to spend more (an average of $1,736) than those who only shop online ($1,053) or in-store ($1,337).

Among those who plan to shop in-store, 62% plan to visit multiple shopping areas. For 36% of shoppers, the in-store experience is enough to make them travel farther, while 39% say they “make an event” out of shopping and plan to eat at restaurants during their trip.