In a new Ipsos poll done exclusively for Global News and released Monday, 30 per cent of Canadians said they will rein in their gift shopping this holiday season and spend less compared with previous years. However, 52 per cent of people said they anticipated spending about the same as before.
Inflationary pressures that have made it difficult for Canadians to buy groceries and property and pay for gas are now also affecting how people celebrate the holidays with their loved ones this year, said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos public affairs.
“Being concerned about celebrating the holidays with your family due to economic considerations shows you how far these concerns have percolated into the everyday lives of Canadians — and that’s got to be very concerning for all of us,” he told Global News.
As inflation remains well above the Bank of Canada’s comfort zone of two per cent, nearly half the respondents (45 per cent) are worried about being able to afford holiday gifts for loved ones this year.
That concern is greater among women (49 per cent), younger Canadians aged 18 to 34 (66 per cent) and parents (58 per cent).
Canada’s headline inflation rate has eased to 6.9 per cent from a peak of 8.1 per cent in June, but food costs are still accelerating, and underlying price pressures remain sticky.
At the same time, the Bank of Canada has hiked interest rates by 350 basis points in just seven months, one of its sharpest tightening campaigns ever, to try to force inflation back to the bank’s two per cent target.
With looming concerns of a potential recession, 30 per cent said they were preparing for that possibility, which is why they will spend less on gifts this holiday season, the Ipsos poll showed.
Meanwhile, a majority (57 per cent) said they are being more careful about their expenses than in past years. Three in 10 also said lower earnings were a factor, while more than half (52 per cent) said they would rather spend more on basic necessities and don’t have money to spare on gift shopping.
“There’s a lot of things that are being worked into people’s calculations about how they’re going to celebrate in terms of gift giving this holiday season that in the last couple of years haven’t really been as present,” said Bricker.
“What we’re seeing is that people are budgeting more tightly than they did in the past.”
In terms of households, a majority of those earning less than $40,000 a year and between $40,000 and $60,000 said they were concerned about not having enough money to buy presents.
Sandy Yong, author of The Money Master, told Global News in a previous interview that while the holidays can be a source of financial anxiety, there are ways to mitigate the pressure by picking up extra hours of seasonal work, planning ahead and setting a firm budget for gifts.
To stretch your dollar a bit further, she also advised comparison shopping or waiting a little while longer before items go on sale.
“Hopefully you can snag a couple of good deals during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.”
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Oct. 18 and 20, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
— with files from Global News’ Craig Lord, The Canadian Press