Holiday Shopping Update: CIBC Poll shows almost two-thirds of Canadians have not finished their holiday shopping

Having spent $692 on average so far, one in five Canadians say once all the bills are in they are likely to exceed their holiday budget

TORONTO, Dec. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - A new CIBC (CM: TSX);(CM: NYSE) Poll conducted by Harris/Decima up to December 18th reveals nearly two-thirds of Canadians (64 per cent) don't have all of the items on their holiday shopping list purchased yet - including 14 per cent who say they haven't even started. With a majority of Canadians rushing to finish their shopping in the next few days, 20 per cent say they will likely end up over their holiday budget once the last item on their list is paid for.

Highlights of the holiday poll include:

  • 64 per cent of Canadians say they have not finished their holiday shopping (14 per cent say they have not started, while another 50 per cent have started but still have items to buy this weekend)
  • Among those that have started their shopping, Canadians have spent an average of $692 so far this year - while a November CIBC poll revealed that Canadians planned to spend an average of $890 in total on all of their holiday shopping
  • However with so many Canadians still looking to complete their shopping in the next few days, 20 per cent say they will likely exceed their planned holiday budget once their shopping is complete

"These next few days will be busy for many Canadians, making it important to keep an eye on your spending as you cross those final items off your list," said Colette Delaney, Executive Vice-President, CIBC. "One of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is the confidence of starting the new year in good financial shape, and that means sticking to your budget as you wrap up your shopping."

The poll also revealed some regional differences among those who have started their holiday shopping this year:

  • Atlantic Canadians on average have spent $979 so far this year on holiday spending, among the highest in the country.
  • Quebec residents have spent $476 on average so far this year, among the lowest in Canada.
  • Residents of Alberta appear to be among the most prepared in the country with only 48 per cent having items left on their holiday shopping list, while 69 per cent of Quebec residents have left their shopping to the last minute.

Ms. Delaney also noted that tools are available to help Canadians keep track of their spending, including your smartphone.  In a November CIBC poll, 23 per cent of survey respondents said they planned to use their smartphone for everything from comparing prices to using online banking to stay on top of spending.

"Whether you use mobile banking on your smartphone to keep on top of transactions in your account, or use a pen and paper, knowing you are on budget can help you enjoy the holidays and keep other important financial goals such as building your savings on track," commented Ms. Delaney.

To help manage your last minute holiday expenses, CIBC offers the following tips:

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.

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.

Consider Using Loyalty Rewards: In past CIBC research 11 per cent of Canadians polled said they planned to use reward points to buy gifts this holiday season. If you have loyalty rewards available, consider using them to save money on last minute purchases.

Keep Monthly Savings Plans Going:  Many Canadians find it more difficult to keep up with regular savings plans in December, but that doesn't mean you should skip this month's instalment in your savings plan. Make sure you put your regular contribution away if you haven't already to keep your longer term goals on track.


Percentage of Canadians who say they have either not completed or not started their holiday shopping, by region:

National Average      64%
Atlantic Canada     67%
Quebec      69%
Ontario       66%
Manitoba/Saskatchewan    55%
Alberta           48%
British Columbia      66%

Percentage of Canadians who say they have not started their holiday shopping yet, by gender:

Male   16%
Female   12%

Among Canadians who have started the holiday shopping, average dollar amount spent so far on gifts this holiday season, compared to what they planned to spend on gifts as part of a November CIBC poll, by region:

  Plan to Spend (Nov. 2012) Spent so far (to Dec. 18, 2012)
National $890 $693
Atlantic Canada $777 $979
Quebec $695 $476
Ontario $969 $732
Manitoba/Saskatchewan $963 $903
Alberta $1,016 $718
British Columbia $981 $683

Percentage of Canadians who say they will exceed their holiday spending budget this season, by region:

National Average      20%
Atlantic Canada      20%
Quebec       16%
Ontario       23%
Manitoba/Saskatchewan     18%
Alberta           19%
British Columbia      21%

*Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey. These data were gathered in a sample of 932 between December 13th and 17th 2012. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-3.2%, 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:

Kevin Dove, Head of External Communications and Media Relations, CIBC: (416) 980-8835 or


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