CIBC Poll: Started your holiday shopping? There's a good chance you've also picked something up for yourself

Canadians focused on sticking to their holiday budgets, but almost one-quarter of holiday spending so far is unplanned purchases for themselves

TORONTO, Dec. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - A new CIBC (CM: TSX; NYSE) Poll conducted by Harris/Decima reveals that among Canadians who have started their holiday shopping, nearly one-half say they have made some unplanned purchases for themselves along the way, adding over $130 on average to their holiday expenses so far.

The poll highlights that among Canadians who have already started their holiday shopping:

  • 47 per cent say they have made unplanned purchases for themselves while holiday shopping this year
  • On average, these Canadians have spent $134 on themselves in unplanned purchases, in addition to $398 on the rest of their holiday expenses so far - meaning that unplanned purchasing accounts for approximately one-quarter of holiday spending to date
  • A past CIBC poll in November showed that budget conscious Canadians planned to reduce spending by 8 per cent this holiday season

"It can be tempting to pick up something for yourself during your holiday shopping, however it is these unplanned purchases that can put you over your budget," said Colette Delaney, Executive Vice-President, CIBC. "Canadians are planning to keep a sharp eye on their budgets this year, and it is important to include all of your purchases when you are tracking your spending - including the holiday items you buy for yourself."

Staying on budget at this time of year can be challenging. A past CIBC poll from December 2011 showed that 24 per cent of Canadians believed they would exceed their holiday budget before finishing their shopping.

Unplanned purchases can throw your holiday budget off course

The challenge with unplanned purchases is that Canadians often do not consider them a part of their holiday budget. For some, it's not until after the holidays are over that they realize how much they have spent on items that may not have been on their list.

"December is a busy month, which makes it even more important to use convenient tools like mobile banking to keep on top of transactions in your account, or other tools so that you know where you stand on your holiday budget," added Ms. Delaney.

Tips for holiday budgeting:

Small unplanned purchases can add up:  Whether it's an add-on to a gift for someone on your list, or a treat for yourself while out holiday shopping, small unplanned purchases can add up over the holiday season.  Stick to your list and proactively plan your shopping.

Stay on Top of Cash or Debit purchases: Canadians planning to use cash or debit can track their spending by using the free CIBC Mobile Banking App on their smartphone. Having the CIBC Mobile Banking App on your smartphone allows clients to check their balance and see what they've spent so far that day, in just a few seconds.

Manage and Track Credit Card Spending: Managing cash flow effectively is a key element in sticking to your holiday budget.  Free services like CIBC CreditSmart can help. Free to CIBC credit card holders, CIBC CreditSmart allows clients to set a budget limit on each spending category on their credit card, and be notified by phone, email or online message when they exceed their customized budget.

Have a Plan for Credit Card purchases:  Canadians planning to use a credit card to pay for their holiday expenses should make sure they have a plan to pay off their balance to avoid incurring interest charges. With a plan in place, you can earn rewards for your purchases that may save you money on other items, such as discounts on gas purchases or cash back. For example, this year CIBC estimates it will reward clients with $89 million in Dividend Dollars on their December statements, up from $85 million in 2011, putting cash in their hands at a time when they can best use it to help offset the cost of holiday spending.


Among Canadians who have started their holiday shopping, percentage that say they have made an unplanned purchase for themselves, by region:

National    47%
Atlantic Canada   37%
Quebec    48%
Ontario    49%
Manitoba/Saskatchewan  54%
Alberta     58%
British Columbia   30%

Among Canadians who have started their holiday shopping and have made an unplanned purchase for themselves, average amount they have spent on their unplanned purchase, by gender:

Men     $158
Women    $117

Among Canadians who have started their holiday shopping and have made an unplanned purchase for themselves, average amount they have spent on their unplanned purchase, by region:

National    $134
Atlantic Canada   $184
Quebec    $105
Ontario    $138
Manitoba/Saskatchewan  $104
Alberta     $117
British Columbia   $205

Among Canadians who have started their holiday shopping, total amount, on average, spent so far, by region:

National    $398
Atlantic Canada   $612
Quebec    $295
Ontario    $419
Manitoba/Saskatchewan  $393
Alberta     $483
British Columbia   $320

* Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey. These data were gathered in a sub-sample of 590 Canadians who have already started their holiday shopping. The poll was conducted between November 29th and December3rd, 2012. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-4.0%, 19 times out of 20.

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at


For further information:

Sean Hamilton, Director, Media Relations, CIBC (416) 304-8456 or


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