One in five Canadians admit to being a Last-Minute Larry: Holiday Shopper Profiles Revealed

    Canadian shoppers classified according to behaviour, spend and attitude

    TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - With just over one month until Christmas Eve,
holiday decorations are in full swing, the malls are bustling and the familiar
smells of peppermint and hot chocolate are all around. But as the happy
holiday season approaches, anxiety levels of Canadian shoppers have just moved
into overdrive as they prepare their shopping lists, budgets and numerous
trips to the malls. To better understand and prepare for the shopping season,
MasterCard Canada today revealed insight into Canadian shoppers with the
MasterCard Canada Holiday Shopper Classification. Divided into four
categories, the findings paint the picture of what all shoppers endure,
appreciate and dread as the holiday shopping season is upon us. The Holiday
Shopper Classification revealed four profiles: stressed for the season (19%);
pragmatic shoppers (30%); shop-aholics (24%); super shoppers (27%).
    "The MasterCard Holiday Shopper Classification provides an in-depth look
into Canada's shopping behaviours during the holidays," said David MacDonald,
Vice President, Environics Research Group. "Across the country, Canadians look
forward to the holidays, but how they approach the season and their actions
vary significantly by age, gender and location."
    The MasterCard Canada Holiday Shopper Classification was developed by
surveying Canadians about how they shop during the holiday season, who they
shop for and how they budget. Canadian holiday shoppers have been grouped into
four categories that support specific shopping behaviours and attitudes.
According to the findings, almost half of Canadians (48%) have 10 or more
people on their list. Atlantic Canadians (61%), Manitobans/Saskatchewans (65%)
and Albertans (60%) lead the charge with 10+ shoppers. One in ten (10%)
Canadians confess they'll spend more than $2,000 this holiday season and
another one-third (34%) will spend under $500. One-third (34%) of shoppers
claim they will complete their lists with only one or two trips to the mall,
but the majority of Canadians (40%) say they'll need three to five trips this
holiday season.
    "We're challenging Canadians to learn a little bit more from Santa this
year by making a list and checking it twice," said Jennifer Reed, Vice
President, Public Affairs, MasterCard Canada. "The holidays are a time to
rejoice and celebrate. And a small time investment upfront to prepare a
shopping plan, holiday list and budget means more time to be with family and

    Canada's Holiday Shoppers Revealed:

    MasterCard Canada invites consumers to log onto to
classify their shopping behaviour and learn how to better survive the season.

    Stressed for the Season - 19% of Shoppers: Last-Minute Larry (or Lucy)
    We all know one of them, but few of us would admit to falling into this
category ourselves. One-fifth of Canadians (19%) land in the most disorganized
category of them all - last minute shoppers. At risk of offending half of the
Canadian population, we're not surprised to report that this group is
dominated by men (67%). They don't even bother with a shopping list; they
don't take a planned approach to the holidays; they do go over budget and
spend more time wandering around, browsing for ideas than actually buying
gifts for the holidays. They spend more than average and their bills often
exceed $2,000. Because of their disorganized approach, you're likely to run
into Larry in the mall on Christmas Eve as he scrambles to find something for
yet another person he forgot about this holiday season.

    Advice: As you distribute your holiday gifts keep a list of these people
so you know who to shop for next year and you're headed for success in 2008.
As you start to pay your bills track what you've spent and plan ahead for next

    Pragmatic Shoppers - 30% of Shoppers: Sensible Susie (or Stephen) Shopper
    This shopper profile represents almost one-third of Canadians shoppers
(30%). This group has a slightly male skew, with just over half (52%)
represented by the Canadian male population. They are more likely to live in
Alberta or British Columbia. These shoppers don't over indulge during the
holiday season, but still can't help but feel slightly more stressed as they
struggle to stay in control and balance everything from their chequebooks to
their timelines. Budgeting almost comes naturally to them, and is made more
manageable as many spend less than $250 during the season. Their holiday
shopping is often done within five hours with usually only one or two big
trips to the mall.

    Advice: Add in holiday cheer to your shopping list and use your time
saved to enjoy hot cocoa, friends and family this holiday season.

    Shop-aholics - 24% of Shoppers: Super Shopper Sheila (or Sean)
    This group love to make shopping lists, they love to make multiple trips
to the malls and they love to spend money during the holidays. They invest
more time shopping than any other group - but mostly because they're
constantly adding names to their list. And no surprise, their love of the
holidays tends to put them over budget - though not as badly as Last Minute
Larry. While males dominate the Last-Minute Larry category, women (69%) rule
the shop-aholic category. But surprisingly, it's made up of a slightly older
age category (55-64) who are likely employed part time, or homemakers. They
spend more time than average shopping for gifts, but likely because they're
shopping for more people. They go over budget, and are most likely to spend
over $2,000 this holiday season. They're moms, but moms to adult children
rather than young children. Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians beware - Super
Shopper Sheila may be flying through a mall near you this holiday season.

    Advice: It's not about how much money you spend, but finding time to
spend with family and friends. Try to get a head start on the holiday season
with your planning. Before you holiday shop, take a few minutes to look at
your list and put a dollar amount next to each person on that list.

    Super-Planners - 27% of Shoppers: Budget Bob (or Betty)
    One quarter (27%) of Canadians land in the most careful and cautious
consumer shopping group. More women (59%) than men fall into this category,
and moms represent one quarter (24%) of this group. They are mostly middle
aged (35-64). They spread their shopping out over one to two months to make
the most of their time, money and deals. Most of this group manages to get
their holiday shopping done in less than two hours, but, they spend time
outside the malls making decisions and cross referencing everything from the
latest electronics to the best deal on wrapping paper, even before they head
out the door. They keep their lists to a minimum, and spend less than $500
during the season.

    Advice: Keep up the good work, and share your shopping expertise with
others this holiday season.

    For all Canadians planning to do any holiday shopping this year, consider
these tips to get through the season:

    Create a budget. Take the time to create a realistic budget that includes
all of your gift giving plans, entertaining and travel requirements. Prepare a
budget before you begin your holiday shopping and plan according to what you
can comfortably afford to spend. Save credit card receipts and update your
budget to include where you may have gone over or under in your spending for a
better understanding of your accurate spending behaviour.
    Plan ahead. It's never too late to start saving for the holidays. If you
know you're planning to spend a lot this holiday season, put aside part of
your needed spending money each month or each paycheque. Then, comfortably pay
for purchases on your credit card knowing that already reserved your spending
money. It's never too late, and you still have a few weeks before the
    Schedule your shopping. If you're one of the shoppers who leaves
everything to the last minute, schedule shopping into your calendar. Pick
three days between now and the holidays and make the time to get your holiday
errands done.
    Do your research. Take the time to do your research and shop for the best
prices. Explore online shopping to save money this holiday season. Be thorough
and patient, and you may find a great sale.
    Protect yourself. It gets busy during the holiday season, so be careful
and never leave your purse, wallet, credit card or debit card unattended.
Protect yourself from fraud by guarding your personal information such as
credit card and PIN numbers whenever you use them.
    Don't over think it. Don't stress trying to find the perfect gift. Pick a
few stores you know your family and friends will like, and purchase gift
cards. They make for easy last minute ideas and there's no fancy wrapping
    Make it a family event. For those with children, involve them from the
start. When you're making shopping lists, ask them to help you come up with
gift ideas for friends and family. Bring them along for the shopping
experience and teach them about budgeting. Ask children to create homemade
wrapping paper and cards.
    Don't shop alone. Invite a friend or relative along whenever you're
shopping. It's great company and you can exchange great gift giving ideas
along the way.
    Dress for the experience. If you're planning a day of mall shopping,
dress comfortably, check your winter coat and pack snacks and water to make it
through the day.
    Enjoy the holidays. Whether you're out shopping or spending time with
friends and family, be sure to take the time to enjoy the holidays. Relax,
enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and have a safe and happy holiday season.

    About MasterCard Worldwide

    MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical
economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and
merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard
develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 16 billion transactions
each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to
financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands,
including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard serves consumers
and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more
information go to

    About the survey:

    The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of
MasterCard Canada from October 18-24, 2007. The telephone survey is based on a
randomly selected sample of 1,005 Canadians ages 18+. With a sample of this
size, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points,
19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Jill Anzarut or Don Blair,
Environics Communications, (416) 969-2708 or (416) 969-2726

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