Retail Council of Canada's Holiday 2007 Consumer Trends



    Canadians Spending More as Consumer Confidence Remains Strong

    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - The average Canadian plans to spend $1,447 this
year on holiday gifts and non gift-related expenses, according to a new study
conducted by POLLARA on behalf of Retail Council of Canada (RCC). This
represents an increase of $137 over the $1,310 cited in RCC's 2006 holiday
survey.
    "The results of this year's annual holiday survey clearly show that
Canadians remain confident and the Canadian economy continues to hold strong,"
says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. "Despite
some concerns with the economy south of the border, unemployment numbers and
interest rates in Canada remain relatively low. Because of these positive
trends, we are not surprised to see that value-driven Canadian shoppers are
planning on spending more this year to give that perfect gift to someone
special and to celebrate the holidays entertaining family and friends."
    For Holiday 2007, 94% of Canadians plan to give gifts to others, spending
an average of $733. These same consumers also plan to spend an average of $714
on non-gift-related expenses, such as travel, decorations, meals and
entertainment this holiday season. Last year, Canadians said they intended to
spend an average of $680 on gifts and $630 on non-gift-related expenses.
    "While Canadians still enjoy the tangible experience of traditional
bricks and mortar retailing, we are still noticing an increasing movement in
the number of Canadians shopping online this year, in addition to the
continued growing growth in gift card purchasing, with 29% of respondents
planning to buy gift cards this year - a 10% increase over the past two
years," says Robert Hutton, Executive Vice-President, POLLARA.

    
    Highlights of the survey include:

    How Much Canadians Are Spending:

    -   British Columbians will spend the most on gifts this holiday, ringing
        up an average $950.
    -   Quebec residents will spend the least on gifts this holiday, at $552.
    -   Residents of Atlantic Canada are the second-highest, spending an
        average of $788, followed by Albertans ($774), Ontarians ($763) and
        residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan ($635).
    -   On average, men will spend about $109 more on gifts than women this
        holiday season ($791 compared to $682, respectively).

    Where Canadians Are Shopping:

    -   While 97% of Canadians plan to shop in stores for holiday gifts, 43%
        plan to shop online, 19% via catalogue and 2% through television.
    -   43% of Canadians plan to shop online for gifts this holiday season,
        marking an increase of 5% from 2006.
    -   On average, Albertans are the most likely to shop online for gifts
        this holiday season, while residents of Quebec are the least likely
        to shop online for holiday gifts (52% vs. 32%, respectively).
    -   Similar to last year, residents of the Atlantic provinces are more
        likely than other Canadians to purchase gifts by catalogue this
        season (28%).

    Gift Cards:

    -   29% of Canadians plans to purchase gift cards as presents this
        holiday season, which marks an increase of 10% over the past two
        years.
    -   Albertans are the most likely to purchase electronic gift cards as
        presents this holiday season, while residents of Quebec are the least
        likely to do the same, 35% and 15% respectively.
    -   Age clearly plays a role in the decision to buy a gift card for a
        loved one, as men aged 18-34 (36%) and women aged 18-34 (29%) are
        more likely to purchase a gift card than Canadians aged 55+ (22%).

    Other Types of Holiday Spending:

    -   On average, residents of Ontario plan to spend the most on non-gift-
        related expenses at $926.
    -   Residents of the Prairies plan to spend the least on non-gift-related
        expenses at $175.
    -   Residents of Quebec come in second place at $492, followed by British
        Columbians at $316, Albertans at $236 and residents of Atlantic
        Canada at $199.
    

    About the Study

    These are the findings of a Retail Council of Canada/POLLARA poll
conducted Nov. 27-30, 2007. For the survey, a representative randomly selected
sample of 2,600 adult Canadians was polled through an online omnibus. With a
sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to +/-1.9 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult
Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within
regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were
weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that
of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data. The
actual results of Holiday sales may differ/vary from the intentions stated in
these findings. For detailed research tables, visit www.retailcouncil.org or
www.pollara.ca.

    About Retail Council of Canada

    Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail
in Canada. It is a not-for-profit association representing more than 40,000
stores of all retail formats, including independent merchants, regional and
national mass and specialty chains, and online merchants.

    About POLLARA

    POLLARA (www.pollara.ca), the largest Canadian public opinion and
marketing research firm, helps its clients improve their performance through
strategic research designed and analyzed by consultants who are experts in
their fields. Drawing on the talents of more than 650 employees located in 6
cities, POLLARA provides a full range of research services to leading global,
national, and local companies and to public and non-profit sector
organizations.





For further information:

For further information: Retail Council of Canada, David Day at (416)
694-2777, ext. 222, E-mail: david@pipelinecommunications.ca; POLLARA, Robert
Hutton at (416) 921-0090, E-mail: rhut@pollara.com


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