Shoppers walk by a reindeer display at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. — Canadian Press photo
TORONTO, Ont.- Moneris Solutions, Canada’s largest debit and credit card processor, announced today that 2011 holiday consumer spending saw an overall increase of 4.64 per cent, compared to the same period in 2010.
Regionally, Newfoundland saw the biggest growth in spending, with a 12.8 per cent increase, while Alberta came in second, with a 7.85 per cent increase, according to a Marketwire news release.
Ontario and Quebec both experienced moderate growth, with increases in spending of 4.47 per cent and 4.24 per cent, respectively, while British Columbia and New Brunswick experienced the least amount of growth, with 2.41 and 2.36 per cent increases, respectively.
Moneris analyzed credit and debit card transactions for the period beginning with Black Friday, Nov. 25 and ending Dec. 19. Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw great results, with 8.3 per cent and 15.4 per cent increases in spending, respectively. Cyber Monday especially seems to have garnered attention amongst Canadians this season, with consumer electronics spending up by 131.5 per cent compared to the same day last year.
Retail spending saw a moderate growth in the following weeks, with specialty retail stores seeing flat growth of 0.5 per cent compared to 2010. The categories that experienced the most growth were men’s and women’s clothing and women’s accessory, with 6.3 per cent and 9.1 per cent increases in spending, respectively. Pet stores also saw a sizable increase, with 10.7 per cent growth compared to last year.
However, there were decreases in spending for sporting goods stores and shoe stores, of -3.5 per cent and -1.2 per cent, respectively. Jewellery stores also saw their sales decline slightly, with a -0.5 per cent decrease compared to 2010.
In the first half of December, consumer spending was focused on travel, as Canadians planned their vacations and getaways. Travel and hotel spending was up 21 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively, compared to the same period last year.
While the overall number of transactions this year grew by six per cent, compared to last year, the average purchase amount decreased by 1.3 per cent. This indicates that Canadians are seeking deals offered by retailers and purchasing lower priced items more frequently.
In addition, despite the retail success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Canada, consumer electronics store sales saw a significant decrease in overall spending of -8.9 per cent during the past three weeks, which may indicate that consumers are holding out for Boxing Day discounts. The same holds true for camera and photography stores, which also dropped significantly, with a 15.62 per cent decrease in overall volume, compared to the same period in 2010.
According to the Moneris Spending Report, Canadians are also contributing to those in need this holiday season. In fact, the amount of dollars donated to Canadian charities has gone up in December, compared to the same period in 2010.
Canadians have embraced the spirit of giving by increasing the amount of their charitable donations by 7.69 per cent during this period, compared to the same period last year. The number of transactions was also up by 4.22 per cent.
“Despite concerns over economic volatility in Canada, all signs have pointed to a positive holiday retail season, starting with the unprecedented success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending,” said Jim Baumgartner, CEO and president of Moneris Solutions. “The steady increase in pre-holiday spending is a good indication that consumer confidence in Canada continues to grow, which bodes well for retailers heading into 2012.”