Gifting with purpose: Amex Survey Reveals Canadians Plan to Shop more Thoughtfully this Holiday Season

Retail industry news delivered directly to you. Subscribe to Retail-Insider.

After the past two years, Canadians are eager to gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. However, they’re planning to do it a little differently this year.

With soaring inflation and uncertainty in the markets, more Canadians are putting extra thought into where they will spend their money during the holidays. 

That means retailers need to be prepared to offer shoppers more deals and promotions to attract those who may base their purchases off the potential to earn rewards or points more so than in past years, says Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services Canada at American Express.

Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services Canada at American Express.

These trying economic times are forcing Canadians to be savvier about how they pay for holiday gifts and other expenses this year. It’s all about shopping smarter this holiday season and making their dollars stretch further.

“Today’s consumers are demanding more from the brands they frequent. They want value and they want to feel good about how they are spending their money. Injecting value has never been more important to attract, support, and retain customers because we know they’re more likely to shop at stores where they have already established brand loyalty,” she says.

“For example, our data clearly shows that Amex merchants with a higher number of special offers are recovering faster each quarter than those who are not providing any promotions. And it’s not just about existing spenders returning to the market. These special offers are bringing in new customers too.”

“We know consumers need incentives to shop somewhere new. As we head into the New Year, retailers looking to accelerate their growth need to meet these consumer expectations.”

On top of looking for good deals and incentives, Canadian consumers are planning to shop for the holidays more thoughtfully this year, according to the Amex Trendex, a trend report from American Express. As they look forward to spending time with loved ones, Canadians are also spending their dollars on gifts and experiences that will have the most impact this holiday season.

The Amex Trendex found that close to three-fourths (74 per cent) of Canadians surveyed agree they want to be more selective with gift shopping this holiday season. Clothes and accessories (56 per cent), dining out at restaurants (52 per cent) and decorations (34 per cent) are ranked as the top three categories where they plan to spend their money during the holidays.

Santaguida said Canadian consumers want to purchase gifts with meaning and spend money on community-based experiences that bring people together.

For example, 73 per cent of survey respondents said they’re shopping for thoughtful gifts over luxury gifts this holiday season. Over three-fourths (77 per cent) said they believe it’s more important than ever to support small businesses this holiday season and close to eight-in-10 Canadians (79 per cent) want to earn credit card rewards for online purchases.

“The degree to which Canadians are taking steps to support small businesses this holiday season stood out to me as one of the highlights of the survey results and a key trend this year. There are a lot of factors impacting personal finances right now in Canada, so the fact that 77 per cent of Canadians agree that it’s more important than ever to support small businesses this holiday season is a really positive takeaway for Canada’s small business owners,” said Santaguida.

“Another trend we’re seeing is centered around Canadians’ desire to earn and redeem rewards for their holiday purchases. Two-thirds of Canadians want to use credit card rewards and points to offset prices this year. This means that two out of every three Canadians are planning to redeem their rewards to balance out their expenses this holiday season. It’s all about Canadians being savvier shoppers and making their money work harder for them.”

In many cities and communities across Canada, this year’s holiday season marks the first full return to life as we knew it before the pandemic. The return to in-person shopping is a symbol of pre-pandemic life, so for that reason, Santaguida believes we will see more Canadians visiting their local stores and malls this year.

“There’s been an undeniable uptick in online shopping, which was driven by the pandemic of course, but I think this year, we’re going to see the proportion of Canadians shopping in store versus online start to balance out again. In fact, our research shows there is an equal percentage of Canadians (77 per cent) who plan to shop online and in-store for the holidays,” she said.

Some other key findings from Amex Trendex include:

  • 63 per cent of Canadians surveyed typically spend between one to four hours researching potential gifts before deciding to purchase them;
  • 60 per cent plan on donating to charity to give to those less fortunate this holiday season;
  • 68 per cent agree that they love dining out at their favourite local restaurants during the holidays to support small businesses;
  • 66 per cent plan on purchasing gifts from locally owned businesses this holiday season;
  • 59 per cent agree that they tip more generously around the holiday season;
  • Of those Canadians who agree they tip more generously around the holidays, 65 per cent say they tip around 10 per cent more or higher compared to their typical behaviour.

*Retail Insider worked with American Express for this content.

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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

More From The Author

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33...

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre...

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

No posts to display

Follow us


all-time Popular