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Christmas gift.

Massonstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

More Canadians plan to give gifts this holiday season than in previous years but they intend to spend less overall, according to a new poll.

Ninety-two per cent of respondents said they intend to give gifts, up significantly from 80 per cent last year and 82 per cent in 2012, results from Royal Bank of Canada's annual holiday spending intentions survey show.

However, the total average they expect to spend is $589.60, down from $608.60 last year and $628.50 in 2012.

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Thirty per cent of those polled said they intend to use credit cards and then pay off the balance on their next statement, while 27 per cent say they will use cash and 24 per cent a debit card.

Only 6 per cent said they expect to use a credit card and carry the balance for a while.

Asked how they plan to do most of their holiday shopping, 79 per cent of respondents said by physically going to stores, 17 per cent said online and 3 per cent said using mobile.

A surprising 59 per cent of those in the 18-to-34-year-old bracket intend to use cash or debit cards, while 18 per cent plan to use credit cards and pay off their balances.

As for online versus in-store shopping, the younger set appears to still enjoy physical over virtual reality: 70 per cent said they plan to do their gift shopping in person, with only 25 per cent opting for Internet purchases.

"It's great to see these younger shoppers focused on managing their holiday expenses so they don't have seasonal debts when the New Year begins – this is a wonderful gift to give to yourself," said Maria Contreras, senior manager of savings accounts at RBC Royal Bank.

Other findings:

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· 67 per cent of Canadians surveyed don't have a budget that includes saving for holidays/gift expenses

· Quebec shoppers intend to spend the least at $360.30, while those in Atlantic Canada – $700.90 – and Alberta – $699.70 – expect to spend the most

· Shoppers in Atlantic Canada and Ontario are most likely to use cash for gifts: 33 per cent and 28 per cent respectively, compared with 27 per cent nationally

· Shoppers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the most likely to use debit cards for their gift buying: 32 per cent, versus 24 per cent nationally

The survey, published Thursday, was conducted online based on Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel and involved 2,006 Canadian gift-givers. The data were collected between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21. The poll is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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