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The 2022 Holiday Spending Study, conducted by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), has revealed that Canadians have new worries during what should be 'the most wonderful time of the year' as two-thirds (67 per cent) believe inflation will make it harder to buy gifts this upcoming holiday season.

Yet, despite these concerns, Canadians expect to spend $589 on gifts—similar to the average CPA Canada has found in previous years from its annual study. Additionally, while 64 per cent have not been saving money over the past year to put towards gifting, over half (54 per cent) of those surveyed still plan to spend the same as they did last year.

Holiday cheer or fear?

The holidays are meant to be a special time to make lasting memories with loved ones but, with the pressures of financial barriers like inflation and rising interest rates, it's no wonder that 46 per cent of Canadians report feeling more stressed around the holiday season compared to other times of the year. Making holiday magic happen is not as easy as calling in a favour with Santa and more than one-in-five (22 per cent) say they are likely to take on debt to pay for holiday gifts.

"Households across the country have been feeling the pinch this year - what started off as rising prices grew worse as Canada's inflation rate peaked to its highest level in almost four-decades—but that doesn't mean taking on debt has to be inevitable," says Doretta Thompson, CPA Canada's financial literacy leader. "Even though holiday shopping is underway, it's never too late to learn how to manage merriment within your means and incorporate simple habits for long-term personal financial success."

Consumer spending tips for a holly jolly season

  • Ding-a-ling, hear them ring … cash registers and online shopping carts will sound off all season to herald billions in sales. Keeping tabs on spending shouldn't have to turn Canadians into miserly Scrooges, but a few key tips from CPA Canada will help keep shoppers on the 'nice list.'
  • Seasons' savings – As with every financial decision, treat holiday purchases with as much planning  as other financial decisions and make a holiday budget. Avoid being one of the 11 per cent of those surveyed who plan to shop at the last minute, which cuts down on impulse purchases that could waste money.
  • 'Sale' away – Once a budget is in place, try to maximize each dollar you spend by seeking out deals on every item on your gift list. There are no shortages of holiday sales and over half of Canadians (57 per cent) report an intention to shop on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day or other upcoming sales events.  Just beware of overspending on things you don't need because they have an attractive price tag 'for one day only.' 
  • Give a 'priceless' gift – For those tightening their purse strings, look beyond your wallet and give something truly priceless – the gift of time. Nearly half (48 per cent) intend to give a non-traditional gift this year, including a gift they made themselves (22 per cent) or simply spending time or sharing an experience with someone (24 per cent).
  • For more tips on how to make sure managing your finances isn't just a festive affair, visit CPA Canada's online Financial Literacy Resources, featuring a wide selection of free tips, sessions and webinars.

To learn more about Canadians' 2022 holiday spending habits and predictions, consumers can be directed to the study background document at: cpacanada.ca/holidayspending.

Survey Methodology

These are the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. Fieldwork was conducted between September 8 and 21, 2022. A total of n=2,017 Canadians aged 18+ participated in the survey which was fielded via the Ipsos' online omnibus. The combined data has been weighted by age, gender, education and region to ensure the sample composition reflects the Canadian population. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is calculated via a credibility interval. In this case, the sample is considered accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points had all Canadians aged 18+ been surveyed.

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