Only One-in-Ten Canadians Will Spend More This Holiday Season

Residents are evenly split on whether they prefer actual gifts from people or cards they can use to choose whatever they want. 

Vancouver, BC [December 13, 2018] – While a considerable proportion of Canadians say they are in a more fortunate economic situation compared to last year, few of them are in a more generous mood this holiday season, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, more than one-in-four Canadians (27%) say they are better off financially than they were last year, while half (49%) say the situation has not changed and one-in-five (22%) say they are worse off.

Canadians aged 18-to-34 are more likely to say they are in a more fortunate economic situation this year (44%) than those aged 35-to-54 (24%) and those aged 55 and over (15%).

When asked about how much they think they will allocate to gifts this holiday season, only 11% of Canadians say they plan to spend more, while almost half (47%) foresee no changes and two-in-five (39%) say they will spend less.

“There are some staggering regional differences on holiday expenditures in Canada,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Residents of Western provinces are more likely to say they will devote more money to gifts this year than those in Eastern provinces.”

More than a quarter of Ontarians (28%), Quebecers (26%) and Atlantic Canadians (31%) say they are better off financially this year, but fewer than one-in-ten in each of these regions plan to spend more on gifts in 2018.

In Ontario, 44% of residents say they will spend less on gifts this year than they did in 2017—the highest proportion in the country.

When asked about possible holiday gifts they may receive this year, Canadians are deeply divided. Across the country, 48% say they prefer to receive gifts someone chose for them, while 47% would rather get a gift card they can use to choose what they want.

Residents of British Columbia are the most likely to prefer actual gifts to cards (54%), followed by those in Ontario (50%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (47%), Quebec (45%), Atlantic Canada (also 45%) and Alberta (43%).


Results are based on an online study conducted from November 24 to November 25, 2018, among 700 adults in Metro Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Metro Vancouver. The margin of error— which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.