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The Globe and Mail

Canadians plan to spend an average $1,810 this holiday season

Shoppers look to purchase gifts on the last weekend before Christmas at West Edmonton Mall, in Edmonton Alberta, December 15, 2012.

JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

Canadians' holiday spending plans – notably on the travel front – are up for a third straight year, according to a new survey.

Meanwhile, three in four consumers intend to go online to buy gifts this holiday season, says a separate poll.

Canadians anticipate total spending on average of $1,810 this holiday period, up 12 per cent from $1,610 last year, a survey by Bank of Montreal found.

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Anticipated spending on travel increased 22 per cent to $689, according to the study, but gift-buying is up only slightly – to $678 from $674.

Four in ten – 41 per cent of those surveyed – said they start their holiday shopping in November, while 33 per cent begin earlier and 23 per cent wait until December.

When it comes to gift-giving, those in Quebec appear to be the most frugal, with plans to spend an average of only $433, compared with $873 in Ontario, $759 in the Atlantic provinces, $708 in Alberta, $635 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and $520 in British Columbia.

On trips, too, Quebeckers plan to shell out the least – $379 – compared with $849 in Alberta, $838 in Ontario, $816 in B.C., $581 in the Atlantic region, and $539 in Manitoba/Saskatchewan.

In a separate survey for Visa Canada, three in four of those polled said they plan to shop online for gifts this year.

Close to 50 per cent of those polled said they expect to spend between $100 and $499 online, with 16 per cent planning to spend more than that.

On average, Canadians surveyed say they will spend about 30 per cent of their holiday shopping budget on purchases made online.

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The majority – 78 per cent – say they plan to pay using credit.

The BMO survey was conducted by Pollara and the results were compiled from a random sample of 1,215 Canadians aged 18 or over, conducted between Oct. 11 and Oct. 16, 2013. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to plus or minus 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The Visa poll, also by Pollara, used an online sample of 1,001 Canadians, surveyed between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, 2013. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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