Image: Andrea Piacquadio, pexels Image: Andrea Piacquadio, pexels

Canadians are reining in their holiday spending this year and spending less on travel and purchases with online shopping continuing to outweigh in-store purchases, according to PwC Canada’s Holiday Outlook report.

On average, Canadians plan to spend $1,104, 31 per cent less than what they spent for the 2019 holiday season.

PwC Canada conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers  in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to find out their shopping plans for the upcoming holiday season.

“Many Canadian consumers and retailers aren't sure what to expect as we approach the 2020 holiday season. This year, the impact and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are top of mind for consumers. Canadian consumers plan to do more of their shopping online than in stores this holiday season, as they focus on convenience, health and safety, rather than the shopping experience itself. One thing is clear: successful retailers will be those who adapt to our quickly changing business environment and understand what a more digital world means for how they interact with consumers," says Myles Gooding, national retail leader, PwC Canada.

Close to 90 per cent of Canadian consumers say they expect to spend the same or less this holiday season with close to 60 per cent noting that the pandemic has had a negative or slightly negative impact on their personal spending capabilities this holiday season.

Overall, online shopping is likely to outweigh in-store shopping this year as consumers continue to focus on convenience, health and safety amidst ongoing pandemic concerns. PwC found that online shopping from a desktop or laptop is up this year, especially among those who have been working from home and PwC predicts that these shopping habits may continue as 57 per cent of respondents said they expect to work from home either full time or part time in the future.

A major trend accelerated by the pandemic is curbside pick-up, with 33 per cent of shoppers choosing this method for their online purchases, compared to 13 per cent last year. Unchanged from last year is the fact that Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to use this method either regularly or on occasion. When it comes to in-store shopping trends, PwC says it’s seeing a big generational divide: 60 per cent of those planning to do at least three-quarters of their holiday shopping in stores are aged 55-plus. When it comes to what influences consumer purchases, PwC says it is seeing another big generational divide: younger generations are much more likely to be influenced by online and social media advertising.

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