Millennials to hike Christmas spending more than any other age group: CIBC survey

Christmas decorations welcome last-minute shoppers to Oakridge Centre mall, Vancouver, B.C., Dec. 18, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

They may have mountains of student debt, and for many, their hopes of ever owning a home in Canada are being crushed more and more all the time.

But there’s one thing that even grim financial realities can’t take away from millennials, and that’s their Christmas spirit.

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That’s according to a survey released by CIBC on Thursday.

It showed that millennials plan on hiking their Christmas spending more than any other age demographic this year, and the competition is not even close.

The survey showed that people aged 18 to 34 years old spent an average of $399 on holiday shopping last year.

This year, that number is set to grow to $555, an increase of just over 39 per cent.

Older generations are expected to spend more, however. People aged 35 to 54 years old expect to spend $669, according to the survey, but that’s down slightly from $670 last year.

Shoppers who are 55 years and older expect to spend $696, up from $693 in 2016.

READ MORE: Survey suggests Canadian shoppers will spend nearly $600 on gifts

But that’s not the only area where millennials outnumber other generations.

Asked to describe their gift-giving personalities, 47 per cent of 18-to-34-year-olds considered themselves “Modern Day Santas”: people who “absolutely love giving holiday gifts to friends and family.”

That was compared to 40 per cent of 35-to-54-year-olds and 40 per cent of people over 55.

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Christmas decorations welcome last-minute shoppers to City Square Shopping Centre, Vancouver, B.C., Dec. 17, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

Millennials were also less likely than other age groups to call themselves “traditionalist” shoppers, or people who “somewhat enjoy” giving out holiday gifts, the survey found.

Additionally, the survey revealed regional gaps when it came to how much people plan on spending this year.

Across the country, Atlantic Canadians expect to spend the most money this year, with average expenses of $827.

Ontarians are second, with $692.

READ MORE: Missed the big holiday deals? 5 more ways to stretch your dollar this Christmas

But when it comes to spending growth, British Columbia stood head and shoulders above any other province.

Shoppers in the West Coast province expect to hike their holiday shopping budgets from $529 last year to $661 this year, for an increase of almost 25 per cent.

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Spending growth is expected to be second in Quebec, where shoppers are set to spend almost 18 per cent more than they did in 2016.

People shop at CF Toronto Eaton Centre a few days before Christmas, Toronto Ont., Dec. 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

Canadians generally plan on spending more on Christmas this year than last, the survey added.

Overall, they expect to spend $643, up from $597 in 2016.

More than half of respondents (52 per cent) expected that they would go overbudget, and 41 per cent admitted that they can’t afford to spend as much as they think they will.

Nevertheless, they feel pressured to spend, they said.

“While the holidays are meant to be a time to reconnect with loved ones, Canadians are telling us that they’re secretly frustrated with the shopping, stress and overspending that ends up eclipsing the joy of the season,” David Nicholson, vice-president, Imperial Service at CIBC, said in a news release.

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One of the ways that people can reduce their holiday stress? Send money, or gift packages by mail this holiday season, Nicholson said.

“Sending money electronically can be a great way to reduce stress and keep costs down,” he said.

CIBC isn’t the only organization that has provided data on how much Canadians are expected to spend this year.

An survey projected that Canadians would spend an average of $570 on Christmas gifts — less than what CIBC projected.

Methodology: From Nov. 27 to 28, an online survey was conducted among 1,512 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

  • With files from Greg Davis

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