For Holiday 2022 Canadians are More Price Sensitive and Shopping Earlier [RCC x Leger Report]

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More Canadians are planning to take advantage of deals, holiday sales, and promotions and have started to shop earlier to take full advantage of the best deals and pricing, according to the Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) 5th annual RCC X Leger Holiday Shopping Survey of over 2,500 Canadians.

The survey found:

  • Six in 10 will look for more deals than in previous years;
  • Getting the best deals generally is driving an earlier planned start to holiday shopping but in 2022, consumers are still shopping around a bit more before buying vs 2021 (36 per cent in 2022 vs 42 per cent in 2021 vs 33 per cent in 2020 vs 26 per cent in 2019);
  • November will remain the busiest shopping month;
  • 35 per cent of consumers plan to begin their 2022 holiday shopping in November;
  • 28 per cent plan to shop on Black Friday, 21 per cent plan to shop on Cyber Monday/Cyber Week, and 18 per cent plan to shop on Boxing Day;
  • Holiday spending intentions are the same as last year. Canadians nationally are planning to spend $790 (vs $792 in 2021).
Diane J. Brisebois

“Canadians are getting back to more in-person get-togethers and more in-store shopping this holiday season. They are looking to recapture that ‘festive holiday spirit’. The challenges of the last few years and worries over finances are very present, but Canadians are largely determined not to let this affect their celebrations this year,” said Diane Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada.

The report found that current financial strains are being felt by six in 10 Canadians and while eight in 10 consumers intend to buy gifts for others this year, 62 per cent say their gift giving habits have changed over the years, with the main reason being that they are looking to buy more meaningful gifts for fewer people. 

The survey said “many will consider a wider assortment of retailers to ensure they find the best gifts at the best prices.”

It found that six in 10 consumers felt that holiday shopping during the pandemic lost some of its excitement. 

“Interestingly six in 10 will also be searching in-store this year (more-so than last year) in hopes of reigniting the holiday shopping festiveness they valued prior to the pandemic. Black Friday and Cyber Monday will continue to be busy both in-store and online with consumers looking for more deals and to get back into the holiday spirit,” said the report.

“In-person holiday celebrations this year are anticipated to make a big comeback and Canadians are anticipating spending the biggest portion of their holiday budgets with food & beverage retailers and food service providers and restaurants. Consumers are considering a wider range of retailers to shop from this year for their holiday gifts, with nearly half of Canadians saying they will also shop at various discount retailers this holiday season.”

RCC will be hosting an online Retail Holiday Shopping Forum on November 8, 1-3pm ET, where Leger will discuss the key findings of this survey and how retailers can apply the findings to adjust their 2022 holiday plans for a strong end to the year. Google Canada and Showcase will also share their latest learnings and recommendations.

“A lot has changed. In the last five years since we began conducting our industry-leading RCC x Leger Holiday Shopping Survey – one of the largest studies of Canadians’ holiday shopping behaviours – how consumers shop, what they buy, when they buy, who they buy from, and how much they spend, have transformed,” said Brisebois in the report.

“How consumers shop for the holidays is changing. For example, 62 per cent of consumers say their gift giving habits have changed in recent years. Six in 10 feel that since the pandemic, holiday shopping has lost some of its magic, and that they are craving more festive, social, and local buying experiences. Furthermore, a full 23 per cent of consumers shop differently when buying gifts for the holidays. Savvy retailers who can anticipate these evolving needs and delight their customers at a time when they are looking to bring back that “special holiday feeling” will do well in 2022 and beyond.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 63 per cent in 2022 (vs 63 per cent in 2021 vs 58 per cent in 2020) of total purchases are expected to be in-store this year and 37 per cent in 2022 (vs 37 per cent in 2021 vs 42 per cent in 2020) will be online. Pre-pandemic in 2019, 72 per cent of total purchases were planned to be in-store and 28 per cent online;
  • Supporting local retailers continues to be important to Canadians. 74 per cent feel it is important to shop locally, and 42 per cent plan to shop at local retailers this year;
  • Product categories that Canadians will spend the most on have shifted with the anticipation of more in-person gatherings. Food, beverage and food service retailers and restaurants are making the most gains. Top categories are food, alcohol, candies, or sweets for entertaining (16 per cent vs 12 per cent in 2021), clothing (16 per cent vs 16 per cent in 2021), food & beverage services (11 per cent vs 7 per cent in 2021) and toys (10 per cent vs 10 per cent in 2021);
  • Stated top concerns for holiday shopping this year are cost of living/ inflation (26 per cent), products availability (22 per cent), and COVID-19 related/safety issues (20 per cent);
  • 81 per cent of consumers will be drawn to a combination of lower prices and general discounts (52 per cent), free shipping (18 per cent), and holiday specific sales and promotions (11 per cent);
  • 44 per cent of Canadians will be looking to purchase gift cards this season, of whom 15 per cent say they will spend more on gift cards than they did last year.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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