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Planned Consumer Spending on Holiday Gifts down vs. 2017

Canadians are planning to spend $575 during the upcoming 2018 holiday season, which is down -11% from 2017.

The latest National Campaign Research Poll conducted among 2,364 Canadians revealed that most Canadians are planning to spend less on holiday gifts in 2018 than they did in 2017. Campaign Research asked Canadians a series of questions on their expected purchasing of gifts and some of the findings are quite revealing. Overall, Canadians are planning to spend $575 during the upcoming 2018 holiday season, which is down -11% from 2017 (*CIBC @ $643).

Campaign Research dug a little deeper and found that when asked whether consumers “wish they could spend more on gifts”, a strong majority of 64% agreed with that statement. Younger Canadians were more likely to share that sentiment, while older Canadians were least likely. Atlantic Canadians, along with those in the Prairies and Alberta were most likely to want to spend more. Not surprisingly, lower income Canadians were resoundingly more likely to also have this wish. When it comes to the most basic of holiday traditions – host large dinners and gatherings with family and friends – a majority (54%) of Canadians claim they can’t afford to host such a gathering this year. This sentiment was shared more widely among those in Atlantic Canada (65%) as well as Alberta (63%).

Another holiday tradition – giving to charity – might also feel the pinch in 2018. More than 2/3 of Canadians (67%) suggest they will not donate more to charity this year. Western Canadians along with Quebecers are the most likely to express this sentiment.

As part of the study, Campaign Research set out to understand how Canadians will pay for their purchases and when asked whether they “plan to leave their credit cards at home and use cash” – only 42% agreed with that idea, suggesting that Canadians may carry credit card debt into the new year. Those in BC and Ontario are the least likely to agree with that statement. Also sharing that sentiment, by a wide margin, are lower income Canadians vs. higher income.

“Canadians want to spend on gifts for their loved ones in the upcoming holiday season. Our insights found, however, that Canadians simply can’t afford to spend on gifts and charity. This doesn’t bode well for those that rely on consumers to earn a living or those that work with the most vulnerable in our society, as Canadians will likely scale back donations ” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research.


This online study was conducted by Campaign Research as part of its monthly omnibus study between November 6 to November 9 through an online survey of 2,364 randomly selected Canadian adults who are members of Maru/Blue’s online panel Maru Voice Canada and were provided with various incentives to respond. The panelists were selected to reflect Canada’s age, gender and regional distributions in line with 2016 Statistics Canada census data. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.0%, 19 times out of 20.

The results have been weighted by education, age, gender, and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population according to 2016 Census data. Certain areas or groups may be oversampled but have been weighted to reflect their proportion of Canada’s population. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

The following screening question was asked in order to determine eligibility for participation in the study

"Are you 18 years of age or older and eligible to vote in federal elections?"


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