Canadians are looking to spend less this holiday season: survey

TORONTO – A new survey suggests Canadians are hoping to spend less this holiday season and will take more time going from store to store and scouring the web for deals.

A survey of 2,000 Canadian and U.S. shoppers by Ipsos OTX and Google found Canadians plan to be more frugal this year.

In the U.S., respondents said they budgeted to spend an average of $854, which is up six per cent from last year.

Canadians, on the other hand, were looking to cut back. The average amount Canadians said they planned to spend this year was $711, down from $728 last holiday season.

Fifty-six per cent of Canadians said they planned to spend more time shopping around before buying gifts and 49 per cent said they had a specific budget they intended to stick to.

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While clothing, DVDs, CDs and books continue to be the most popular gift ideas, one of the hottest product categories this holiday season is tablets. About 24 per cent of Canadian shoppers said they were considering buying a tablet this year compared to 13 per cent last year. Ebook readers are also growing in popularity, with 22 per cent considering an e-reader this year compared to 15 per cent last year.

Digital cameras, while still popular, appear to be losing their appeal.

About 29 per cent of Canadian shoppers are considering buying a digital camera this year, compared to 38 per cent last year.

Forty per cent will buy pet products as gifts and one in four Canadians plan to buy a present for their pet.

Google also suggested that smartphones and tablets will be increasingly used as shopping tools this year. About 59 per cent of smartphone owners said they’ll be using their device to help shop, whether it’s to find a store location, compare prices or reviews, or look up coupons or deals.

About 64 per cent of smartphone owners and 59 per cent of tablet owners said it was very or extremely likely that they’d download a shopping app to aid them.

Colliers International released a similar report last month predicting that while total spending in Canada this holiday season will be up about 3.9 per cent, it will represent a small decline from last year after factoring in inflation.