Canadians Plan To Spend $20.5 Billion On Gifts This Holiday Season


The 2022 holiday shopping season has arrived at a time of high inflation and growing economic uncertainty, but Canadians still intend to spend. More than 30 million Canadians (82%) plan on spending approximately $20.5 billion (an average of $675 per shopper) on gifts during the 2022 holiday season, according to a NerdWallet Canada survey of more than 1,000 Canadian adults conducted online by The Harris Poll. You can find these findings and more in NerdWallet Canada’s newly released holiday shopping report.

The NerdWallet Canada survey asked holiday shoppers how they intend to pay for their holiday purchases, how inflation is impacting their holiday spending decisions and inquired about last year’s holiday shopping credit card debt. Key findings include:

  • Shoppers’ financial anxiety: Almost three-quarters of 2022 holiday shoppers (74%) say economic uncertainty, like inflation or the prospect of recession, for example, is making them wary of overspending on gifts.
  • Credit cards will get a workout: Nearly 3 in 5 2022 holiday shoppers (59%) will use a credit card to pay for their holiday gifts this year. Almost a third (32%) will only use a credit card.
  • Lingering holiday debt: Canadians who incurred credit card debt buying gifts during the 2021 holiday season, 20% say they have yet to completely pay it off.

Canadians aren’t sitting back when it comes to inflation and holiday spending; Eighty-one per cent of 2022 holiday shoppers say they’ll be taking action when purchasing gifts this year due to inflation. The most popular methods are spending less per person than last year (36%), giving different types of gifts (i.e., choosing gift items that are more affordable) than years past (32%) and only buying gifts on sale (32%.)

NerdWallet Canada looked into how Canadians will be paying for the holiday purchases this year and while credit cards remain king, they found insightful data on other forms of payment. Seven per cent of 2022 holiday shoppers say they’ll use ‘buy now, pay later‘ services such as Affirm, Klarna or Afterpay. Ten percent say they’ll pay for most of their gifts using a digital wallet like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay, while 15% will use coupon or cash-back sites and apps, such as Rakuten or Honey, when making holiday gift purchases.

Over half (55%) of Canadians incurred credit card debt during the 2021 holiday season and among them, 20% — approximately 4 million people — say that debt is still not paid off.  Lingering credit card debt is more common among younger Canadians. Twenty-eight percent of millennials (ages 26-41) who incurred credit card debt during the 2021 holiday season say they still have not paid off their balances, compared to 13% of baby boomers (ages 58-76).

To learn more about Canadians spending, saving and sentiments around holiday shopping, you can check out the full holiday report here. As well you’ll find tips from NerdWallet Canada financial expert Shannon Terrell on how Canadians can cut costs, save more, and reduce anxiety as they prepare for holiday shopping.


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