Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

People pass a large Christmas tree as they shop at a mall in Ottawa, on Dec. 24, 2020.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

A Retail Council of Canada survey says Canadians are planning to spend more this holiday season as they prepare to return to stores in greater numbers a year after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many to shop online.

British Columbians plan to be the country’s big spenders, shelling out $958, well above the national average of $792 that is up 14 per cent from last year.

Quebecers plan to spend the least at $565, while Albertans and Ontarians expect to spend $869 and $863, respectively.

Store owners are hoping for even better results since actual spending in the past has exceeded spending intentions.

The online survey of 2,500 Canadians found that product availability, selection and delivery times are prompting more to get an earlier start to holiday shopping with 36 per cent expecting to begin in November.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day are expected to be a little more popular this year while 63 per cent anticipate shopping in stores, up from 58 per cent in 2020. Online purchases are forecast to slip to 37 per cent from 42 per cent last year but up from 28 per cent pre-pandemic in 2019.

“Canadians are ready to put the disruption of COVID behind them and are looking forward to returning to brick-and-mortar stores,” says Diane Brisebois, CEO of the Retail Council of Canada.

“Nevertheless, they are buying differently than they were prior to the pandemic. While it is expected that there will be more in-store buying this year, the blend between physical and online shopping will continue to evolve and consumers expect to have more choices in how and where the products they purchase are picked up and delivered.”

Conducted Aug. 12 to 24, the online poll surveyed 2,505 Canadians and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.