Canadians Gear Up for Early Holiday Shopping Amid Economic Uncertainty [Feature Report]


Share post:

It’s hard to believe but Christmas is only a few months away and people are already starting to shop for holiday gifts in preparation for the busiest retail time of the year.

To get an early read on the biggest retail season of the year, Field Agent Canada surveyed 2,104 Canadians about their initial thoughts on holiday shopping for 2023. 

The survey found that 44 per cent of people are going to be shopping earlier, four per cent later and 52 per cent the same. 

TVs at Best Buy Canada on Black Friday 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“Retailers and suppliers will be wise to put their best foot forward in terms of assortment and pricing to capture the spending by those early shoppers,” said Jeff Doucette, General Manager, Field Agent Canada. 

Jeff Doucette

“Shoppers will be on the lookout for deals and to create a Merry Christmas while controlling overall spending.”

When asked what month they will start their holiday shopping, the breakdown was as follows: already started, 18 per cent; September, 13 per cent; October, 25 per cent; November, 35 per cent; 1st 15 days of December, 10 per cent; and last few days before Christmas, three per cent.

Doucette said retailers are trying to get out earlier and earlier, ahead of each other. 

“I think COVID, and the supply chain challenges there, trained us to get it while you can,” he said. “And I think just with the recession, people have more of a sensitivity around price and if they see a good deal on something they’re grabbing it because it might not come back later.

“We asked people if they bought any holiday gifts during Amazon Prime Day in July and 26 per cent said yes. So sometimes they’re doing it not even consciously that they’re buying stuff for Christmas. It’s kind of out of sight, out of mind. 

Holiday Display at Lindt CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“Also, 74 per cent of respondents said they would buy Christmas gifts during the second Amazon Prime Day in October. The big events coming up for shopping like Black Friday 86 per cent will shop on that day, 76 per cent will shop on Cyber Monday.”

Here’s where Canadians plan to buy holiday gifts: shopping centres, 77 per cent; big box stores, 81 per cent; small local shops, 54 per cent; online retailers, 81 per cent; and craft fairs, 34 per cent.

With rising concerns about inflation and a potential recession, Canadians were asked if this would impact how much they spend this holiday season – 16 per cent said No and 84 per cent said Yes.

CF Toronto Eaton Centre on Black Friday 2022 (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

When asked if those factors would impact where they spend their money, 32 per cent said No and 68 per cent said Yes.

“We don’t have any comparables (to previous years) but sort of the sentiment when we go through some of the verbatims in the survey is like ‘my holiday budget hasn’t gotten bigger even though there is inflation, so I need to be smarter or in the end just buy less things’ and part of that solution is the follow on question of shopping in different places where they wouldn’t have shopped in the past to find gifts that may be a better deal,” said Doucette.

“Those big box, discount retailers have that advantage where people might shop early, grab some deals . . . watching the flyers a bit more. It’s pretty important.”

Doucette said people feel they have to be smarter these days to outwit inflation.

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

Bloor Street Retail Transformation: Luxury Brands, Renovations, and New Openings in Toronto [Podcast]

Craig and Lee take a deep dive into the dynamic changes occurring on Toronto's Bloor Street West, noting the street's resurgence as a thriving hub for luxury shopping in the city.

Ricardo’s Kandy Korner to Open Flagship Candy Store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto [Interview]

Entrepreneur Ricardo Rizaie says he’s planning to take his experiential candy retail concept across Canada after opening a third Canadian storefront in downtown Toronto.

PizzaForno Expands Into Toronto’s Public Transit System, Sets Sights on Airport Locations for Automated 3-Minute Pizzas [Interview]

This innovative move marks PizzaForno's entry into the public transit sector, and demonstrates its commitment to becoming the fastest-growing pizza chain in North America by 2024.

Calgary’s Retail Space Crunch Drives Surge in Rental Rates and Demand [Report]

A variety of complicated factors are at play as Calgary retail space sees demand given market growth, while new supply is limited due to factors such as construction costs.

Lush Cosmetics Sets Ambitious Expansion Plans for Canada Including New Spa Locations, Services, and Entertainment Partnerships [Interview]

The UK-based retailer is innovating with its Canadian operations with enhanced customer experiences and unique treatments, while launching a new app to facilitate bookings and provide more information about products and services.

Canadian Consumers Adjust to Higher Cost of Living [Survey/Video Interview]

An Angus Reid survey asked Canadians how they're navigating elevated inflation, a higher cost of living and a potential recession.

Canadian Shoppers Embrace Generative AI for Shopping Suggestions: Report

The groundbreaking Salesforce report focuses on the growing importance of AI-driven personalization in the retail sector.

Inside the New KITH Store on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto [Photos]

The stunning storefront took months to build, features Kith Treats and a restaurant concept from New York City, and could be a game changer for the Bloor-Yorkville area. 

Walmart Canada Announces $50 Million Investment in Associate Career Development [Interview]

Walmart Canada's education program will support career-driven learning for associates, benefitting both employees and the retailer according to AnnMarie Mercer.

Eliminating Plastics Should not Jeopardize Food Security In Canada [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that concerns are being raised about potential increases to food losses and food prices, while at the same time Canada's unique logistical and trade realities are being overlooked.

Neo Coffee Bar Announces Major Expansion Plans, Including New Downtown Toronto Locations and a Foray into Japanese Cocktails [Interview]

The brand plans to continue growing more rapidly over the next several years in high traffic GTA locations.

Ren’s Pets Expands Toronto Footprint with Three New Stores, Launches Extensive Halloween Collection [Interview]

Pet owners are increasingly seeking costumes, accessories, and treats for their furry companions, with the trend of matching outfits growing during the pandemic.